On the bank with Dave Binns Angling

Follow my adventures as I travel around the Yorkshire area catching a variety of species from a wide range of different venues, from northern spate rivers to the clearer waters of the River Calder and a few lakes and forgotten ponds inbetween.
I hope you enjoy reading about them half as much as I do fishing them.
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Keep checking back for news of some exciting products that I have in the pipe line!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Fresh challange

 As I said on my last post I was fast loosing patience with the rivers this winter and decided to try pastures new, boy was I glad I did looking at the state of them again this week!

 I have not caught a big perch, and by big I mean anything over 2lb for more years than I care to remember and I don't recall actually trying to catch one by design. So, I have set my self a little target of a 2lb perch before spring. I have spent the last couple of weeks since my last trip out searching for likely venues fairly close to home as I don't care to be driving miles at this time of year. The info has been freely flowing from a number of sources and I happen to have found a venue close to home that I had overlooked along with a couple more within reasonable distance.

 After reading numerous articles and no end of rubbish on the web, today saw me heading out for what was my first serious perch fishing trip. Loaded up with suitable rods and gear, plenty of worms and a pint of red maggots I headed off to my new found 'local' perch water. I was disappointed though to find it the same colour as the cup of tea I am sat drinking now! Although with the recent rain I had half expected it as I had seen the water running off the local fields yesterday so I already had a back up in mind just in case. That backup was an area of canal around ten miles away, here the canal widens out a little with the boat channel right along the near bank up to a lock, weed beds on the far side and an overflow around the lock leaving a large peninsular of stone wall to fish along too.

 With the rods already rigged up I was fishing in no time but it some became apparent the strong wind blowing down the canal was going to be a right pain as this stretch has concrete banks around 2 feet or more above the water making securing the rods almost impossible. I chucked out a light free running feeder rig to the stone wall with a full lob on a size 8 hook and dropped a float fished lob just a rod length out, it was obvious as the tip bounce around in the wind that I wasn't going to spot many bites and as the rod blew across the ground for the umpteenth time I decided to wind it in. On the end was a greedy perch around half the size of the lob I had been fishing, deep hooked as I had not seen the bite for the wind so with that I decided to sack the feeder and concentrate on the float fishing as I had managed to secure the float rod between my chair and one of those anchoring points they use to tie boats up to that stick out of the floor. At least this stopped it been blown constantly sideways.

 It didn't take long for the perch to show an interest in my float fished worms and I had 3 or 4 small fish to around 8oz in no time, It was clear this spot held plenty of them as by now my mate JD had arrived and he too was into fish almost immediately on float fished worm. I had brought along an old short pole and a couple of rigs mainly to try and catch a few live baits, so with only the one rod out I soon had it rigged up and set about catching a few. It didn't take long much as I expected and my float fished lob was soon replaced with a small perch. With only fishing off the rod end I was able to keep my eyes on both floats as they were not too far apart, however I seemed to have got carried away with the 'live bait catching' as a procession of perch and roach were swung to hand. Nothing of any size though but at least if I could keep the small fish feeding then there was every chance a large perch might have shown up to see what all the fuss was about.

 Alas nothing big did turn up and after a while the swim started to die off, with this I decided to explore the areas around the lock gates and overflow with float fished lobs. This brought a bit more action but again nothing big and most fish were around 6-8oz. A longer cast down the side of the wall brought a flurry of action as I landed 4 fish all slightly bigger at around 10oz only for it to then go dead. The sun had dropped and so did the temperature so I decided to return to my original line to see if anything had moved back in, after I bite less half hour I called it a day.

Not huge but I'm sure big brother is lurking around that lock.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Winter blue's

 I am starting to feel they have well and truly set in after today's session, as once again my plans were wrecked by the weather. Confused? Well it was a nice day, warm if a little windy but so was yesterday and there lies the problem. Remember that cold snap we had just mid week? Well it did drop a bit of snow right on the tops and the rise in temperature also saw a rise in river levels over night.

 I had arranged a trip onto a river new to me, the Colne up near Huddersfield with my mate JD with the intentions of trotting for grayling. We were also joined by JD's mate Richard who I have not met before but have spoken to now and again on yorksfishing so it was nice to put a face to a name. Alas the melted snow had seen the river rise 2 feet over night rendering this small tributary of the Calder just about unfishable. We wandered the banks trying likely looking spots for a couple of hours before returning to the van beaten.

 It was starting to feel like groundhog day as for the second time in as many trips I found my self sat by the canal again, sport was a little better this time though and I managed a tidy net of small roach in a couple of hours fishing. Not exactly what I had in mind but it was a nice day to be out on the bank with friends.

 So, what next? Well as I said last time I had no real plans for the winter months but I have been looking around for a decent perch water, one with a half decent chance of a 3 pounder and upping another PB. After much searching it would seem that there is a water not so far away from home that seems to throw quite a number of 2's up, and allegedly has produced the odd 3 over the years but is clearly overlook these days so it looks like my time my well be invested there.

 I'm going to start something new too, as I am now looking back over some of my old posts in a diary type way, I though it a good idea to keep a record of the river conditions too. So from now on whenever I fish a river I will be adding a graph from the EA river level site
on line river levels a god sent for all running water fans

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Best made plans and all that

 With two unsuccessful trips on the bounce I was hoping today that things would change, not so. Although I did actually manage to sneak a few fish to avoid three blanks on the bounce. The idea had been to spend the morning trotting some fast water on the Calder in the hope of picking up a few dace with the chance of the odd grayling before dropping into the deeper swims to try for some chub later. However the river had other ideas, I was halfway there when  I received a message from my mate JD who was already there that it was virtually un fishable due to the amount of leaves in the river.

 Unperturbed I decide to chance it and hope that I could find us both some clearer water, we headed off upstream and found a nice looking stretch of water neither of us had fished before and decided to give it a go. It became apparent almost instantaneously that he was right, it was unfishable and the water resembled something which can only be described as soup with plenty of bits in it! Jon did manage to loose a fish and i had two burst maggots before we headed off back towards the cars pretty quickly. We exchanged ideas but with limited gear and bait between us we some how had to come up with a makeshift plan.  I muttered a few words about perch as I did have some big trotting type floats that could make do, and a bag of lobbies. Before I had chance to say another word JD said he knew a spot on the canal and before I had chance to think it through we were off.

 Once there I rigged a make shift float rig up out of the gear I had with me that was intended for chub and a bulbous trotting float, out went a full lobbie on a size ten hook followed by some pieces of broken worm and a few maggots right by the wall of a lock entrance. JD was float fishing maggots and right away was into a few small perch and roach, I didn't have to wait long either before my float started to bob around and ducked under only for the strike to meet thin air. Clearly the worm was a bit big as I missed another before I landed a perch almost as long as the worm. I resorted to using bits of worm but still kept missing more than I hit so I scaled down and swapped to maggots, this brought a few more small fish before I managed one around 10 ounces. This however seemed to spook them and it went very quiet.

 As a last chuck of the dice we decided to give the river another go just below the lock we were fishing by as there seemed to be a lot less leaves. JD chucked a maggot feeder out and I trotted for half an hour or so without success before we called it a day. I think its clear that the majority of fish in that part of the river move into the canal to keep warm in the city centre during the colder months, but the part we first fished this morning is well worth another look once the dreaded leaves have been flushed through. Not sure whats next, I,v a couple of options to consider so I'll see what the weather and river conditions bring.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Back down with a bump

 Well I think we can say that winter is defiantly here for I have just spent ten bite less on a cold, wet and windy Trent. In all honesty I should have known better and around mid week it was a toss up of weather to head down there or instead go to the Calder and target anything that swims. In hindsight I should have chosen the latter but the lure of a big Trent double was all too much, the frost we have had has clearly knocked the colour out of the water and fish off the feed.

 I headed to the same stretch I fished last time but chose a different swim with less pace and a bit more depth, hopeful that the fish would be holed up here. I employed my now usual Trent tactics but held back on the loose feed in the groundbait and cast less often. The wind, although a south / south westerly was blowing straight at me making the brolly almost useless in the frequent showers, thankfully they were light and didn't last too long.

 Despite swapping and changing hook baits regularly and adjusting my end tackle around after every couple of casts the tips remained still all day. I think that's me signing off the Trent for now, only heading back after some warming winter rains have put some colour and life back into it. My efforts now will be aimed at the top end of the middle Calder hopeful of bagging a few nice chub with a few other bits and bobs that I may stumble across.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Short trip, short blog

 Not a deal to report today, well really there could be but it's all in my head as my thoughts have now turned to wintry things.

 I had the opportunity to sneak a few hours in local and decided to try my luck back on the Calder where my mate JD had been hitting one or two barbel, alas I missed the boat and the river is now running low, cold and clear after last weeks rain. Knowing this before hand I had planned a twin attack on both chub and barbel but my confidence was falling as quick as the leaves on the trees due to the weather, cold last night although not quite frosty, not at home anyway and the sun was beating down on me once sat on the bank.

 Now this is a new stretch of river to me, much further upstream than I have ventured before so decided to put it to good use as a scouting trip as my intentions are to spend plenty of hours on it whenever the Trent looks out of sorts over the coming months. I had a wander up stream before settling in a swim back near the car and soon had two rods out, the pellet on the barbel rod was picked up first cast but only resulted in a rattle on the tip. Other than that the rods remained still barring the constant plucks and pulls from the ever increasing amount of leaves coming downstream.

 JD popped down and we spent a good hour or more discussing the river and where the fish hold up, after he departed I gave it half an hour or so and decided to chuck the gear back in the car and go exploring. I headed off down stream and found a couple of nice looking swims that I'm sure will hold barbel in the warmer months before eventually coming to some deeper water. Despite the depth there is still plenty of flow, a lot more than I have found on other parts of the river that offer the same sort of depth and these few pegs look sure to produce fish in the cooler weather.

 I had planned on going to the Trent next week but looking at the forecast and current river level I think the barbel rods will be put to bed for a while and I shall be heading back to this stretch of the Calder, full of great enthusiasm and expectation for a nice net of roach and chub.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

MK 1 barbel feeders

 No fishing this week but time's not to be wasted.

After spending a few weeks gathering together the necessary equipment for next to nothing(total cost around £6 from the local car boot sale) I finally got around to knocking up my first lot of big river barbel feeders. The biggest cost was the mould I sourced at £26, this was used purely as a template for my custom made one.

Melting pot, ladle and gas ring, total cost of tools/equipment is around £6! all found at the local car boot sale. Bottle was free from a relative that didn't take to camping.

There is the custom made mould along with quite a few rejects to go back in the pot next time.

Finished weights, mixture of 4,5 and 6 oz

The other bits of the feeders.
plastic cage, split rings and swivels.

 One finished 6oz barbel feeder.

  A rough first prototype ready to be tested. I've gone for split rings for now as opposed to any kind of link as I had been having problems with the long (5-6 foot) hooklinks tangling around them on shop bought feeders, this of course can be changed and there will be an option of ring or link. I gave the cage a quick colour in with a marker, again something to look at as they could be painted/sprayed any colour and also the leads looked a bit bright and shiny but these are easily coated with many different camo/gravel coatings.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Best of the year so far

This morning saw me heading down to the tidal Trent hoping for a barbel or two, and what a session it turned out to be.
 Since starting on the Trent a few weeks back I hadn't yet managed to catch a barbel and I have been playing around with various rigs as well as trying to perfect my own groundbait mix as the price of shop bought stuff is now a joke.

I have been using Drennan super specialist barbel hooks since they came out but when I last did a fair bit of barbel fishing I kind of fell out with them, I still had a few left so stuck with them until I got hold of some of the new Korum xpert power hooks this week. The main reason for change is the Drennan's have a straight point that seems to dig into every rock and stone they can find, these from Korum are in turned and I only managed to knock one hook point over today.

Next up are the running rig kits from Korum, I had been advised to use running rigs and long hook links up to 6 feet when clear and I have been having trouble with the hook link tangling around the feeder on the cast even with a stiff rig boom fitted. The specially shaped bead in the Korum kits makes the hook link sit away from the feeder and with a 6 inch silicon sleeve added I had no problems all day.

 And lastly barring my groundbait mix I made a massive change to my actual hook link material. For years I have used various braids in all lengths but after been given some advice from a well respected big fish angler I made the leap over to combi links and also went old skool and tried a simple mono hook link. The combi's were tied using E.S.P. 15lb ghost fluro carbon with a foot of E.S.P. gravel braid (another change as I have used Drennan sink braid for years). If the water was holding more colour I recon I could get away with normal mono rather than the fluro. As for the mono I was again trying something new, and yes you guessed it from those guys at Korum, this was the xpert power hook link mono in 12lb. I swapped and changed hook links and baits every cast to see if the fish had a preference and all I will say is that the new stuff worked, I tried one of my old hook links a couple of times and never had a knock!

 So then, that's enough of me babbling on about rigs and stuff onto the fishing. I arrived around 11am and found a nice looking swim with some deep fast water right along my own bank and decided to start fishing right away rather than wait for the tide to turn. With the river not holding much colour I decided to hold back on the groundbait and used just enough to hold the mixture of hemp and pellets in the feeder, both rods were out and so was the sun. Not exactly what I wanted with a clear river and it felt so warm. The tips remained still until around 12.30 when, with the river stood the the down stream rod hooped over without warning. The fish put up a good fight even with lack of flow and it took me a while to actually land it. First fish of the day and it went 8lb 12oz on the scales.

 By the time I had rested the fish and let it go on it's way the river was running off and on the very next cast I had a pb rocking barbel of 9lb on the dot to the same rod followed on the next cast by a 3lb splasher. Things went quiet for a couple of hours then and I was thinking that was it for the day until it clouded over and the  down stream rod was almost ripped from the rests. I picked up and the fish carried on heading for sea. The fish was allover the place and took some beating and I was surprised to see a smaller fish of around 6 or 7 pound roll into the net. As I watched it swim away the other rod almost smacked me on the head as the tip was dragged downwards, this one been the new 2lb tc barbel rod I was using for the first time.

This one felt in a different league, slow, heavy and no stopping it when it wanted to go. The battle went on for a good while and tested the new rod and hook link to the limit, I though I had it beat on a number of occasions but each time I managed to get the feeder clear of the water it surged off again. Eventually after a good 10 or 15 minutes I caught a glimpse of the beast and knew there and then that yet another pb was on the cards. I just couldn't loose it, for so long I have been trying to catch a double figure barbel and up my pb. Well after a couple of hairy moments with the fish trying to get into the near side reeds it rolled into the net and was mine. I took one look at it and just un hooked it in the net and staked it our for us both to catch our breath. Self takes are never easy let along with the adrenaline pumping but here it is, my new pb.
 11lb 10oz Trent barbel

 A good hour passed before I had another sign, a 3 foot twitch that resulted in nothing. The sun was starting to dip and it felt cooler so I decide on that lucky last chuck, the rod's weren't out long when the down stream one slammed over again. Yet another good scrap and another barbel at bang on 9lb. This forced me to stay on a little longer but after a biteless hour I called it a day.

 What a day it was and if ever I needed proof that my rigs and homemade ground bait work then surely this has to be it.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Get in, another PB!

 Been back to the tidal Trent today with my mate JD on the hunt for some barbel, it was an eye opening day and full of surprises.

 We arrived at our chosen stretch only to find a club match just about to kick off, this put a big dent in our plans as we could not fish the known barbel pegs so we decided to chance it anyway and fish a couple of pegs where another water course comes into the river. We got settled just above the high tide mark feeling sure we would be fine there as high tide was not far off. How wrong could we be. What happened next I can only put down to the forcasted tidal bore that is due tomorrow, I think we may have seen a small one today!
The water level had reached the high tide mark and didn't look like stopping as it was still running hard and if anything looked to be getting faster. In half an hour the river rose another couple of feet forcing us to move the gear up the bank, it then dropped just as fast back down to the high tide mark, while still running upstream!!! And it was a good job I moved as soon after some total tool in a large pleasure cruiser thought he was in some kind of power boat race as he headed upstream towards us at full pelt. The 3 foot high waves narrowly avoided taking my gear for a swim but gave my chair a good soak, I could here the match lads shouting plenty of abuse at him as he passed them further up.

 So, onto the fishing. I had no idea when the river would stop and start to run off again so I decided to chance it and chuck the rods out anyway but hold back on the feed. Today I was testing a groundbait mix I have made my self from some basic raw ingredients and a couple of flavours, I dropped a ball in the edge and filled my feeders and was pleased to see it look and feel like any I have used from the shops. A couple of nice bream came quickly to my rods before it finally started to run off. Another bream graced my net before JD appeared in my swim with his gear. This was his first trip to such a big powerful river and his gear was a bit under gunned so he decided to fish the next swim along to my right in some slower water and just catch what came along.

 JD was catching the odd small fish but it was a while before I was in again. This time with the upstream rod tip been jagged back and forth violently by an angry fish. I picked up and wound down into a heavy fish that started to take line from the off. I managed to get it close in fairly quick and both my self and JD were shocked when a very large golden coloured fish rolled, I said this is one huge barbel but as I caught a glimpse of it under the water something didn't look quite right and so it proved, as it rolled clearly this time on the surface I realised it was a carp. Ironically my previous PB carp came from the Trent caught many years ago on the stick float at 14lb 11oz. This fish looked like it would beat that and I guesstimated it wouldn't be far off 20 but that was probably the excitement as on the scales it went 15lb 6oz.

 I'm chuffed to bits with it and it's yet another PB this year making that number 5 so far and a great result on my new home made groundbait.

 Things went a little quiet then with JD picking a few small fish up and my self adding another couple of nice bream before JD was into a better fish. Thinking it was another good bream we were both shocked to see yet another carp, this time around 4lb but JD's first from a river so he too was chuffed to bits. He had a few more small ones and I added a couple more bream before we decided to call it a day and headed home both shocked and happy anglers, roll on the next trip.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Fluff flinging

 I had a real eye opening session with my mate Martin yesterday evening doing a bit of fly fishing, or fluff chucking as I like to call it. I had originally planned on doing a bit of floater fishing for carp until I asked Martin about what he thought the prospects would be on a small pond he has fished before, he suggested I may be better joining him for a bit of wild trout fishing on his so called 'tiny stream' as the fish should be hammering dry flies off the surface given the weather.

 Well wild and tiny really are the words to describe it! After driving my way along endless narrow, twisting country lanes under Martins guidance we finally arrived at a gated entrance to a field in the middle of no where. We grabbed a single rod to share, box of flies and donned the waders. We made our way down a track until we came to a tiny trickle of water no more than a couple of inches deep with a small foot bridge over it. I thought he was joking when he said "how do you like my stream"! NO WAY IS THERE ANY FISH IN THERE I blurted. However I was to be proved wrong. You could jump every part I saw with nothing but a few paces run and for the most part it was just a few inches deep but on each bend the bottom had been scoured out to depths of over 4 feet.

Martin fished the first couple of pools with no luck before handing the rod over to me as we made our way up stream, I was onto my second pool when I felt something on the end of the line that had taken a nymph fished below a dry fly only for it to come off. OK OK there is fish here but to say I'm shocked is an understatement. Martin passed comment that it did not seem the same as the times he had fished before as there were very few fish rising for flies and the water was much lower and slower. He also said you could see the fish if you waded very slowly but it seemed they were tucked away right in the edges.

 We worked our way along taking it in turns to fish each pool but it was clear it was going to be hard going, and despite me enticing takes from 6 fish I managed to land zero. Martin also missed a couple but that was about it. A bit more practice is required from me with the fly rod I think but it was a very nice evening to be out in the country side.

 Next stop, back on the Trent.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Calder calling

 Been for a trip back to the Calder today and decided to take Kyle on his first ever river trip in less than perfect conditions as it was carrying around 2 to 3 feet of extra water. Now safety is paramount when fishing with kids and if I thought he would be in any danger at all we would not have gone but I know of a swim that is on a small gravel out crop with good access from the bank and a gentle slope right the way down to the waters edge which continues out into the river, and with a large slack on the inside he was as safe as could be.

 The idea had been to teach him how to trot a float but the extra water had made most swims too dangerous for him to fish from so we opted for a days feeder fishing, Kyle fishing with maggot and worms for anything that swims and my self trying my hand for a Calder barbel although in all honesty I wasn't holding much hope, it was more of lazy excuse for me as I could cast out and leave the rod in view with the baitrunner on allowing me to pay plenty of attention to Kyle. That and also the fact my gear was still rigged up from the Trent trip at the weekend and I had some bait left to use up.

 Despite the conditions looking good for a few fish it was hard going with Kyle only picking a couple of perch and roach up in the first couple of hours until a wayward cast went way past where he had been fishing out into the faster water. I was surprised to see the feeder actually hold station and the tip nodded away in no time with a nice roach on the end. While I sat behind a motionless rod he kept picking a few nice roach and perch up until something a little larger pulled back. The jammy little sod managed to land a cracking looking trout of around 12oz! This is a first for me, I know there are plenty in there but as yet I have not landed any and Kyle was most impressed that he had caught something I had not. I tried to get a picture of the two of them but he decided to let it go whilst doing his best fish juggling impression.

 We carried on for another hour or so and continued to catch a few more perch and roach on mainly sections of worm. Kyle said he was getting a bit bored now but I think he was feeling sorry for me as he kept asking if I wanted to fish with his rod for a bit seen as though mine had not moved all day.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Trent trip

 Yesterday saw me heading down to the tidal Trent with my mate Martin for a bit of a social and some barbel fishing. Neither of us have done much fishing down that end of the river and as such we had both had to stock up on appropriate gear before hand.

 With the high tide due around 4pm we set off after dinner to give our self's plenty of time to get there, find some swims and get set up ready to fish into dark before it started to run off. As we made our way along the bank we were met with a group of lads who had just finished a match, a couple of the lads gave us some info on the pegs that normally produce the barbel so we opted to fish a couple of them but to be honest I would have picked one very close to those anyway going by the info I had been given prior to our journey down.

 We were both fishing by the time the river had backed up although we decided against putting much bait in just yet other than what was in the feeder. As it just started to move downstream again Martin decided to fill it in whilst I was a little more reserved figuring that as I was on the downstream swim fish would have to pass me and my bait anyway. We were both getting plenty of small taps and knocks and it wasn't long after the tide had started to run properly that Martin was into a fish only for it to cut him off on something shortly after hooking into it. Soon after I was into a fish which turned out to be bream.

Martin was next to hook a fish and this time succeeded in landing a new PB of 8lb 14oz

It then went a bit quiet for a while before I landed a bream all of 12oz. As darkness fell the river came alive and barbel were rolling regularly, only trouble was they seemed to be a little further out than we were fishing and mostly two or three swims further up. Soon after full darkness had fallen my downstream rod hooped over and I bent into some weight only for it to snag me, I quickly made my way downstream to get below and soon had the fishing moving. It made a couple of short runs and did put a good bend in my rod but once I slid it into the net I found it was a bream of around 4lb with a mass of weed around is head.

 Despite the fish continuing to roll and splosh around we had no more fish and packed up around 10pm.
I cant wait to go again and even though I didn't manage any barbel the only thing to spoil it was the 15 quids worth of new feeders I lost trying to get them back up over a large shelf that must have been like a shear rock face the way it dropped straight down off the edge of it!

Well done to Martin on the PB.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Practice session

 Following my rather successful exploits on the Calder after a near 10 year break I have decide to sample a bit of local match fishing again, specifically on my local rivers. Only I don't do things by half's and have jumped in at the deep end and booked my self onto the lower Aire championships match in 3 weeks time! I thought I best get some practise in so today saw me heading to the River Aire at Beal.

 I knew the Aire to be deeper than the Calder but didn't bank on just how deep. I did a bit of enquiring mid week and readied some pole rigs to fish up to 40ft, yes that's right 40 foot deep in places! With an average depth of around 20ft. Trotting on a long rod is possible is a small number of pegs and the feeder will catch on any and no doubt provide the top weights with bream and skimmers making these up. The feeder and float rod is no problem but what I needed to work out was how the hell I was going to pole fish in such a depth of water.

 It would seem as I was given some duff info as my first peg that had been suggested to me turned out to be just a few feet deep with little if any flow, so after a couple of hours of catching fish on only the feeder I decided that I wasn't going to learn anything and opted for a move down stream. I got settled into the new peg and plumbed up to find around 16ft of water and a nice steady flow in front of me. However one thing I didn't bank on was the undulating river bed, along the length of my peg it was up and down by as much as 12in making running any sort of rig through with the flow impossible unless I fished well off bottom. (I'm now told this is common on a lot of the river)

 I rigged up with a 2 gram pole float and cupped in 3 balls of Van Den Eynde world champion with a few maggots, casters and chopped worms added, I slipped on a single maggot and lowered the rig in. First run through and the float dipped under and the first roach of around 3oz went in the net. I started to get into a rhythm then and fish were coming regularly before it went quiet, another ball of groundbait saw the fish return before moving off again in search of more food. That's another issue that I need to resolve as loose feeding in that depth is out of the question. I did put another ball in and caught some more fish including a couple of nice bonus perch knocking on for 12oz on sections of worm before calling it a day after around 3 hours with the onset of a heavy thunder storm, again!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Puddle piggin

 As much as I hate the places today saw me fishing an over stocked snake type lake dug out in a field and filled with puddle pigs( fish farmed pellet fed carp in case you're wandering), and the reason? Well for the last two years I have been teaching my son how to fish (or rather he keeps showing me already), he's started to get a little bored of catching ide and roach almost every put in on the pole at our local pond so as it was his 8th birthday last week I promised him a trip to somewhere that had plenty of puddle pigs in so this morning we headed to Birkin Fishery. I have not fished here my self before but decided to try it as it seemed to fit the bill as I was told plenty of carp were caught close in meaning Kyle didn't have to fish with too much pole out. It's also very close to a stretch of the River Aire I have had my eye on but not yet checked out so this would give me as good a chance as any.

 We had a quick walk around and decided to fish a swim close to the car simply because they all looked the same! I got kyle sorted and fishing down the edge and he was into a small roach before I had even got my own rig in the water, a few missed bites and small fish before the elastic was whizzing out of the end of his pole. He had hooked a carp in no time and did a great job of playing it to the net by himself for me to net. It wasn't huge, 3lbs at most but did give him a good scrap. I thought we were onto a shed full but it turned out I was wrong. No more carp followed and we started to hook into a mixture of roach, ide and the odd skimmer as well as missing loads of bites due to fishing heavy gear and bumping fish after fish. I'm sure if I had set up a lighter rig we would have emptied it but sods law the carp would have turned up.

 After a few hours I rigged a method feeder up and chucked it out to the island, or should I say the mound of earth that was made when they dug the puddle out. Again small fish were a pest so I let Kyle have a go only for the tip to slam round. He picked up but before he could do anything the carp was in the reeds and smashed the hook link, we gave it half an hour but no more came so we both stuck to fishing short on the pole and kept picking up silvers on anything we put on the hook including double corn and half inch cubes of meat. We gave it a couple more hours before calling it a day and went to look at a proper venue, THE RIVER!

 I can see why people like these kind of places and Kyle enjoyed it too so for his sake I think we will return soon but for me, my own time will be spent on more natural waters.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Priceless memories

 I had a very quick session today up at Owl Barn Farm, I was out of the house, fishing and back home in under an hour. Strange you may think but the reason was I had the company of a very special Little lady today. I decided it was time to introduce my 2 and half year old daughter Lilly to the world of fishing. Most people will have caught fish bigger than she was as when she was born she weighed just 2lb 15oz! and spent weeks in hospital.
 I took just the required gear and some maggots left over from yesterday, I rigged up a light pole rig attached to a top 3 and flicked a few maggots in, in no time at all she beamed from ear to ear as the fish soon started biting. Like kids do she was bored after around 20 minutes so we headed home to tell Mummy all about it.

 One of the shortest sessions I have ever fished but also one of the best, equalled only when I took kyle for the first time.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Stupid fish, up stream trotting and acrobatic pike

 As you can see from the title is was a bit of a mind bending sort of day.
 I eagerly made my way back to the Calder this morning knowing the level had now dropped to something around normal and that trotting for silvers was back on the cards. Choosing a spot I have fished a few times I settled in and soon noticed the wind would be a problem as my short 5no.4 stick float was lifted clear of the water whilst figuring the depth, it was promptly replace with a much longer 9 no.6 domed top one, the large tip making it easy to see in the ripples and shadows as it made its was down stream.

 I don't exactly know what has happened along this stretch of water but the recent floods have clearly left there mark and must have altered the layout of the river bed, despite it been only 6in or so above summer level what used to be a nice glide now seems to be a boiling torrent. The main flow now cuts diagonally away from the bank but often changing forwards and back, there seems to be a narrow strip of faster water just this side of it and the water under the rod tip moves the other way. One trot the float will bomb down with the flow before sitting still on the next trot then going up stream on others.

 Those waves are caused by the current passing over the river bed forcing the water up.
 The flat water that looks like what you get when you put in lots of oily groundbait is actually the current flattening the surface, the current would speed up before the water boiled and the flat spots grew as they moved down stream. This kept repeating its self during the day and if it wasn't for the water level and clear water you would think it was in flood with the way it behaved.
As it reached the lower end of my swim it would cause the back eddy on the inside to grow, the current would speed up and it was actually possible to trot up stream!

 So onto the fishing, despite the difficult conditions the fish were actually there in numbers and even though the float moved down the swim like an empty barrel going over a water fall, bobbing, weaving and generally going where it pleased it kept going under. I was making the best of a bad job and for an hour or so kept putting fish in the net every 2nd or 3rd trot, small roach, dace, a few perch and of course those cracking proper Calder roach.

 As the wind strengthened the bites slowed and I knew the rig was wrong but just put up with it as the float kept going under, I was retrieving another fish when it went solid then started to move down stream. It has taken longer than I had expected but a pike had finally muscled in on my fishing. It bit me off in no time and as I had to tie on another hook I decided to make some changes. Now normally I just change my float and shotting but as the wind kept falling in between gusts I rigged up another rod instead and on went a large cork and quill 'topper' type float with what I call an inverted bulk. This is just a bulk of mixed size shot with the largest been at the bottom, in this case an AAA, then an AB, BB and so on meaning that on the strike the bulk is more stream lined and cuts through the water better. Spaced out below this were a no.4 no.6 and a no.8.

 This change saw me catching again for a while but when the wind dropped I switched back to the normal stick rig and picked up a better stamp of roach closer in, many of then actually falling when the rig was moving up stream each time the current picked up and forced the back eddy to run harder. Mr pike decided to appear again and as I quickly lifted a fish from the water he did a double back flip just past my feet. You may be wandering whats next looking at the title of this post, well there is only stupid fish left.

 For a good hour or so the wind blew stronger and the current was a nightmare, the stick float rig moved down stream more sideways and I could see the float sat at some very funny angles and the large topper float just looked a mess out in the faster water, actually laying flat as the under currents picked up the weight down the line and the wind pulling it in every direction, but despite this they kept going under and I kept adding fish to the net. It just shows that fish don't always follow the rules. The wind dropped and seemed to settle for a while so I decided to experiment. To get past the back eddy and into some smoother water I got the extension for my MAP river rod out to take it to 16 foot and re rigged it with a 3 gram avon float shotted again with an inverted bulk and spaced out no.4 and no.6 shot below.

 From the off the float behaved much better, odd gusts of wind blew it around but the extra length of rod allowed me to correct the line better and after upping the feed in the faster water I started to catch more dace and a few chub around 6-10oz also joined in. More quality roach came in between as did the odd nice perch before Mr pike returned doing somersaults as I plucked fish from the surface. It seems he stuck around as it went rather quiet and each time I did manage a fish there were swirls galore as my small fish dived out into the fast water to try and escape its jaws. Of course this eventually un settled them and I decided to call it a day with another good net full of silvers.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Calder barbel

 Not a deal to report today unfortunately.

 Now the Calder is not one of the first rivers in Yorkshire you would think of when hunting barbel, in fact its most likely near the bottom of most peoples lists me included. But whilst out on the banks I keep hearing tales of a few fish been pulled out. Nothing huge as they seem to average around 6lbs but location is pretty simple enough as on the lengths I have been fishing there are two weirs and a large set of rapids with fast shallow water below them. I had been more than happy catching nets of silver fish but it was starting to become a little stale with all the extra water we have had of late and making things difficult on the trotting front, and as my mate JD lost 3 barbel last week I thought I would try my luck.

 So off I headed this morning to a spot I knew barbel had been caught from before, I baited up with some hemp and pellets via a bait dropper and a few boilies that are new to me for this season from Tailor made tackle and bait and sat back and waited. Odd pecks from small fish came intermittently but despite swapping between boilies, pellets and lumps of meat I failed to get a single proper bite.

 Ah well such is life, on the plus side it was a grand morning to be out on the bank once the sun came up(at long last). I think I will save the barbel fishing for the Swale and Nidd and stick to plundering the roach and dace shoals on here. The river looks like it may finally drop to something like normal level and with little if any rain forecast and a week's holiday from work things look good for a few fish next week.

Fresh ideas

 You may notice some slight changes on here. I thought a new name would be better suited and more able to link in with the launch of my new face book page which you can view here

 Keep checking back as I have been toying with some ideas on some custom products specifically aimed at river anglers, hand crafted by my self but more on that later.

Friday, 6 July 2012

It's a wash out!

 Back early today from another Calder trip, due largely to some rather nasty looking lightning! Not ideal for waving carbon rods around in.

 I was on the bank for not much after 4.30am  full of enthusiasm with heading back to some faster water only to find the river had risen more than I had anticipated putting my first, second and third choice swims out of action. So I opted to fish another new swim to me slightly further down stream than I had wanted to be but it did look promising, slow smooth water close in just below a tree with enough flow a couple of rods out to give a nice trot down a current that I thought the fish would be happy in with the bit of extra water on. Past that around half way the main flow carried the worst of the extra water, a good foot to 18 inches but not holding too much colour.

 I started out like normal, rigging up and sitting back with a cuppa whilst feeding hemp and maggots expecting the fish to be there from the off but they had other ideas and must have been fishing the best part of an hour before I actually netted my first fish, a  roach of around 6oz. Thinking they had moved onto the bait I was shocked that no more bites were forthcoming. A change of tactics were required and after missing a couple of bites having flicked the rig out into the faster water I decided to rig up a large bolo float and fish out in the flow just short of half way. Off came the 9 no.6 stick and was replaced with a 2 gram bolo float with a bulk around 3 feet from the hook and 2 number 6's and 2 number 8's spaced out below.

 I started to feed with a catapult and gave it 5 minutes before flicking the rig out, it was nice to watch the float run a long way down the swim mid river and I was pleased it stayed on line all the way down having not had much experience of trotting big floats well out from the bank before. It took around a dozen trots before the float buried and I added another roach of around the same size, but it wasn't to be and after half an hour or so with no more interest I decided to up sticks and move as the fish were just not there. As I bundled the gear into the car it started to rain. By the time I arrived at the next stretch it was pouring down so I decided to just jump in the first swim that looked fishable, stick the brolly up and try a bit of feeder fishing.

 Although the water was fast and boiling it looked much calmer just down the edge and first chuck out the tip jagged like mad and saw me wind in a small gudgeon, back out and this time a nice roach before a couple more gonks, all ripping the tip about as soon as the bait hit bottom. With this in mind I changed to the smallest size black cap feeder and put in around just a dozen maggots, about the amount I would feed each trot if float fishing. By now it was absolutely pouring with rain and I was hoping the flow would not pick up too much and move the fish. A few more roach and a couple of dace, perch and a small chub were netted before I dropped the rig slightly further out. I waited a bit longer for a bite before a steady pull on the tip saw a bigger fish hooked, not massive but it was holding in the flow rather than me winding it straight in but I could feel the line grating on something and as I tried to bring the fish in it went solid. I gave it some slack line but still it held firm and I had to pull for a break.

 I got going again and had a couple of small fish then the thunder storm started. The rain bounced high even off the water, the lightning was getting scarily close and as the river rose almost a foot in just ten minutes I made a hasty retreat.

 If anyone knows where the summer has gone please could you send it back this way, thanks.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Minature specimen makes up for poor day

 Back on the river this morning in search of more quality roach, still finding my feet on the Calder I headed to an area I had fished just once before in the depths of winter. It's deeper, almost double than a lot of the water I have fished so far and much slower. This would allow me to get some practise at trotting long range as I expected mainly roach and with the deeper water feeding patterns would come into play as well as presentation as the fish would have far more time to inspect my bait than they would when dashing around grabbing anything that comes near them in the faster swims.

 I rigged up an 8 no.4 stick with 3 number 8's near the hook and well strung out no. 6's up the line. As I dropped the rig in and let it on its way it worked perfectly and with no bait on the hook I managed a good 30 yard trot only having to mend the line once and the current just enough to peel line from the reel holding the float back a touch. First run down with a bait on produced a nice roach around 6 oz before two missed bites and a totalled rig saw me re-tackling. Once sorted a steady run of nice roach came for half an hour before I managed to miss the keep net with a 4 oz fish and watched as it darted right back down where it came from and splash on the surface before diving down again.

 Who said fish were daft? That roach had clearly done a good job of warning its mates below as the swim went stone dead and all I managed for around an hour were a few perch and two tiny roach! It took me ages to start picking roach up again and they were well down the swim, clearly spooked by the escapee, I swapped to a smaller size 20 hook and 0.08 hook link and added two number 10 droppers, moved the 8's further up and dotted the float right down to make it more sensitive and the bait fall slower through the water. Feeding just 6 maggots twice on each 30 yard trot saw me picking the odd fish up with them also moving closer to me at around 15 yards down stream.

 Around 9am I swung a fish to hand that I thought was the first dace of the day, on un-hooking it looked like a bleak but judging by its size I thought it couldn't possibly be and into the net it went. Whilst continuing to not catch much I was pondering over it been some kind of hybrid, chub or dace maybe. An hour or so later I was thinking about packing in for the day when two old boys who have fished the river for years stopped by and we got chatting, I mentioned the fish and they too were intrigued and so I emptied my small catch of roach securing the said fish in the process and we had a good look over it. All three of us came to the conclusion that it was a very large bleak and decided to weigh it. I popped the fish into a small plastic bag and lifted the flyweights only for the needle to more or less sit still, rather unsurprised as they are 30lb rated on a single revolution. I removed the bag and zeroed them once more and this time rather than lifting I dropped the bag on the hook, it read just over 3 oz, we repeated this three times and each one got the same reading, thickness of the needle over 3oz so we agreed on 3.5oz.

 Now this may seem small and insignificant to most people but with a record of just 4oz 9drm this is one specimen PB that will take some beating!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Bit of an anti climax

 Saturday saw me and Kyle scouting out some new water on the Calder, I found what I thought to be THE best looking feature packed swim on the river and it just screamed fish.
So this morning I headed out early doors to my new found spot only to discover it wasn't exactly as I remember. Having Kyle with me Saturday meant I couldn't spend much time stood around and climbing up and down river banks and failed to realize that the trees above were a little too low to be waving a 14 foot float rod under, add to it some extra water in the river, around a foot since Sunday morning and I was put off fishing it today. It is worth another look, well worth it in fact but needs some of the undergrowth hacking through and a couple of small steps in the bank to make it safe getting up and down. This should then put me further up stream of the trees whilst still allowing me to trot down them and past the 'other' big fish holding feature.

 Plan B was then put into action, just a short way along the river there is an overflow from the canal lock that runs into it creating a nice crease as well as adding oxygen to the water as it tumbles over the rocks and into the river. I got tackled up and set about feeding maggots and hemp whilst I sat back and admired the kingfisher down stream and drank a cup of tea. The swim was between 4 and 6 feet deep sloping from the bank and had some wooden stumps in the water that looked like they were once part of a boat mooring of some kind. I had rigged up a 5 no.6 stick float and expecting more roach than anything today I went for a size 18 hook rather than a 16 and used a 0.10 middy hook link. I was also using today for the first time the new Drennan Supplex line instead of my usual float fish, 4lb but at 0.16 its the same diameter as the 3.2lb float fish I had been using.

 First trot and the float only traveled 2 yards before it went under just as I expected only instead of a small roach or dace coming up the rod bent over and I could feel a solid thump thump on the other end, the fish move slowly at first as though it didn't know what to do before setting off on a steady 30 yard down stream run. I had no idea what the fish was but as it headed into the main flow and started to thump again I was thinking that just maybe it could be my first Calder barbel, I gained a bit of line back before it steadily plodded down stream again. It was getting a bit too close to one of the stumps for my liking so I leaned into it a bit more only for it give one more thump and throw the hook.

 Rather bemused by the loss of a good fish so early I re baited hoping for more. The usual roach and dace had arrived and I tried not to think what could have been,(although now I have my doubts) half a dozen fish in as many trots went in the net before it suddenly went quiet. The down stream wind not helping much as it was coming at a slight angle and pushing the float well off line as it went more sideways than downwards. I soon swapped to a bit bigger float and was picking the odd fish up but much slower than is normal this year on the River so cut back on the amount of food I was feeding each trot and picked a few up from low down the peg, steady feeding brought them closer to me but I was not happy with the presentation I was getting. I was about to make some changes to the rig when I hooked into another good fish, it didn't feel as big but fought in a similar way although the run down stream was absent. It rolled just under the surface and spat the hook and I caught a glimpse of what looked like a nice bream(again I now have my doubts).

 Gutted that I had lost two good fish I stuck at it and made some changes to the rig, I moved each shot down slightly and also added a no.6 above the float to try and keep the worst of the wind off the line just above the float. This had a dramatic effect and I imeadiately had 3 good roach, all needing to be netted. Not really getting their heads down the fish came in bits and bats with roach of various sizes, dace and a few small perch all falling to maggots and coming quicker when the awkward wind eased. It had been quiet for a while and I was thinking of packing in for the day when the float dipped and the rod hooped over again.

 I was determined not to loose a third and very gingerly tried to ease the fish up stream letting it have its head when it wanted, it felt bream like on the end as it turned in the flow and wallowed around until it came to the surface and jumped 2 feet clear of the water! It's then I realized exactly what it was, one of the Calders resident big ide. After it landed with a large splosh on the water it twisted and wallowed all the way to the net. Having had my first and only experience of river ide last year I had forgotten how hard they fight and pull back in the current, far better than their carp puddle cousins these are like a different species. They look a hell of a lot better too, I didn't weigh it but I would say it was around 3lb

 An ide of 6lbs featured in the angling press during the winter that came from the Calder during a match and I now think the lost fish today were also ide, the first being a very large one judging by the amount of line it took. I re convened fishing only to find it still very slow going so with large clouds blowing my way I called it a day, pleased with the nice ide but also a little disappointed at the lack of roach and dace. I expected more form such a nice swim but for whatever reason they were not playing ball and I tipped back around 10lbs of silvers. Perhaps it was the wind that meant the bait was not presented correctly or as its the first time I have fished this area there is not the head of fish that there is elsewhere, either way I have fallen in love with this place and look forward to my next outing.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Hard work pays off

 After keeping a close eye on the river levels this week, yesterday looked good for another nice bag of roach from the Calder untill I heared the news my mate JD had lost 3 barbel the eveing before. This started my brain ticking and after a trip to pick up some boilies I had had rolled by Tailor Made Baits my mind was made up. But I was a little pushed for time as I had a few things to do first and some friends were dropping by mid afternoon, as they left I went to grab my gear only to find due to my idleness my barbel gear was still all mixed up with the stuff I had been using this spring for the tench (I had been using my avon rods and bait runners) so decided to just go with the float and maggots again as it all needed a good sort out. The Calder is not yet a renowned barbel river anyway with not many people targeting them and the average size is around 6lb. I had said to my self I would not get dragged into targetting them and was happy knowing that I would be trotting for silvers again.

 I arrived by the Calder around 5pm and although the level had dropped massivly it was still running quite fast with around a foot of water left in. First choice swim was taken and second choice was way too fast to be trotting for silvers so I opted to fish the same swim that I did last time even though this too looked a little fast. I came away from my last trip having had a very nice net of fish but thoughts in the back of my mind were that I could have done better as it had been hard to control the float correctly with the shifting current, so this time I rigged up a 2 gram avon float with plenty weight down the line.

 I had a steady first hour catching a few fish but not in the numbers I had before, mainly dace and small chub with only the odd roach, I can only put this down to the faster water and the roach not been happy to sit there today. I was into a bit of a rythem and catching steadily when the fish dropped right down the swim and it went quiet. I wasn't entirly happy with the avon rig so swapped to a 6 no.4 stick float in four foot of water, a bit heavy I know but the extra weight I hoped would keep the hook down some what.

 Steady feeding of maggots, casters and hemp saw the fish return and it seemed they liked the lighter strung out stick rig, it was difficult controlling this lighter float in the flow but holding the rig back saw a fish in the net every second or third trot down untill the down stream wind picked up. This made things rather difficult as I was having to keep the line up off the water by holding the rod high whilst trying to hold it back but the wind kept picking the line up and pulling the float off line. It was now 8pm and only catching the odd fish I decided on some last hour do or die tacticks, so on went an even heavier stick float of 8 no.4's and I started to feed heavier to try and draw the fish right up the swim were the current was slightly steadier and a shorter line ment I could controll it better in the wind.

 After half an hour of feeding I started to catch quickly again, mainly dace with the odd small chub and roach mixed in, all coming with the float running all of 5 yards. I stuck at it for a good hour and caught more fish that I had had in the last 2. I packed in around 9.30 and had around 15lb of fish in the net, not as much as my last session weight wise as that was made up mainly of plump roach but I did have a higher number of fish. It had been hard work from start to finnish but I did learne an awfull lot yesterday, the way different floats work in the current and how the fish responded to differing feeding patterns, well worth the effort I though and can't wait to get back on next week.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Running water.............. Bliss

 After a quick scouting trip last night, this morning saw me make my first proper river trip of the season to the Calder. Driving past the old estate lake that I have done so well on recently I was wandering if I was making the right choice as there could still be plenty left to discover but the lure of running water was too much, by the time I was 50 yards past the gate thoughts turned to the river and what would welcome the new season proper.
 I decided on a stretch not fished by my self since last August when I was just discovering the joys of the Calder, I arrived bank side and was down the steep bank ready to fish shortly after 6am. The river looked to be carrying more water than I had thought last night and I recon a couple of foot and still holding a touch of colour, this short length only has 3 or 4 fishable swims on the one bank and all but one seemed too fast and boilie for stick float fishing, even the one I chose was a little quick for my liking and the current kept switching around with a crease that seemed to keep moving in and out.
 A few trial runs to shot the float and figure the depth confirmed it was not going to be an easy job to keep the float on line. I could see the current changing all the time, sometimes the float would run down just a rod and half out whilst others it would almost stand still, some times I could drop it further perhaps two to two and half rods out to see it run through perfectly only for it to head diagonally mid river on the very next trot, Add to this the water on the inside was running up stream due to a large eddy further down stream!
 I had everything ready and started to feed maggots, casters and hemp whilst enjoying a nice cup of tea. First trot resulted in a dace around 6oz then a roach around the same before an early chub around a pound slid into the net. It was hard work keeping bites coming on every trot and the float point blank refused to follow the same path with the changing current and I was picking fish up every second or third trot, mainly dace with the odd roach and perch mixed in.
 After an hour or so the level had dropped and forced me to shallow up by a few inch's three times and the fishing had slowed, if anything the pace of the flow had actually increased and I think this is what had shifted the fish around. Another hour of steady feeding and a trickle of roach, dace, perch and another chub around a pound came before the current seemed to slow and the definite crease come back along with the fish. I was now able to run the float down more naturally 2 or 3 out of every 4 trots and each time resulted in a fish or missed bite. I was now picking up quality roach, nothing massive but I was having to net every one of them with most been 2 or 3 to the pound, it was great fishing and the odd dace and two or three more chub up to around a pound and half came in between for the next couple of hours.
 I had to keep shallowing up a few inch at a time as the lever dropped and by 10am it had dropped a good 18in but with it came a major change in the current. The fish tailed off again and to my disappointment the swim turned into a swirling mess and getting the float to run through anything like natural was near on impossible unless I dropped in around 4 or 5 rod lengths out, so with that I decided to call it a day having enjoyed what I had caught. I was very surprised by what I had actually amassed when pulling the keep net up as it took some unexpected lifting! Well over 20 pounds of fish in around 4 hours with most of them quality roach, even better they were all caught on just a stick float with a pint of maggots, a bag of hemp and a few casters AND IT'S FREE FISHING!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

First quick river trip

  Just had a quick evening session with my mate JD on the Calder, first time I have fished that area and tbh we were on the wrong bank, it was very shallow and I could wade nearly halfway. I managed a few dace in a couple of hours from a steady glide by a tree but the shallow clear water meant they spooked each time I hooked a couple. It looks a lot deeper right along the far bank and very fishy so I will give it another go down there but next time from the right bank!

 I did put my new(second hand) Dave Harrell 14/17ft float rod through its first test though, nothing to really put a bend in it but at 14ft its nice to hold, has a nice soft tip action and picks line up effortlessly off the surface.

I decided to quit early so as to save bait and please her in doors and get out for an early morning trip tomorrow when hopefully I can catch a few more

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Back on the old estate lake

 I made my return this morning to the old estate lake to target the tench, with a low pressure front moving through over night and a gentle south / south westerly wind conditions looked perfect.
 As I made my way down to the lake at half four it seemed even more so as I could see fish fizzing and bubbling allover the place and by 4.40am had one rod out with a bolt rigged maggot feeder rig. Previously I have sent this rod well out into the lake past where the weed beds were starting to pop but today it was clear the fish were feeding much closer in and so it went out only 30 yards or so slightly to my left. I had only just cast my second rod out, this time on my usual groundbait feeder rig and again shorter than normal when the alarm sounded on the other rod and line peeled off the spool. I was kind of half expecting a quick bite this morning and tench number one rolled into the net at ten to five, a very nice looking golden colour and the smallest I have had this year from this water going a good 3lb.
 Soon afterwards whilst just rolling a cig the feeder rod whacked me on the thigh!(this leaves me with a bit of a dilemma that I will come back to) Now I was sure I had not knocked it and dropped what I was doing and grabbed hold, good job really as tench number 2 put up a good scrap. Doing the usual trick of kiting around the reed beds I waded through and netted a nice 5 pounder. I expected plenty more to follow but it went quiet until around 7am when I heard an almighty scream of 'GET IN' that made me jump.
 I couldn't work out if it was on the bank as there was already a car in the car park when I arrived or up on the main road until someone shouted a little quieter if I could lend a hand so with that I wound the rods in and headed along the bank. The chap in the next peg was carp fishing and had managed to bag one of the much sought after fish from the lake and requested some photo's taking. I over looked the scales and the fish went 24lb 12oz. Now as you know I am not much of a carp angler but this was a fine old looking fish and the lad told me it was his very first from the water and had had 21 blank trips prior to today so he was over the moon, I stopped and chatted for a while before heading back to my swim.
 First chuck out and the rods had only been on the rests 5 minutes when the tip nudged around and I struck into what felt like a smaller fish, it turned out to be a nice bream around 4lb. Afterwards I was surprised by the lack of interest from the fish as they were still fizzing away out in the lake but it seemed to take forever for the next bite to come, at around half past eight the tip slammed around and another nice 5lb tench made its way into the waiting net but sadly that was the end of the action for today, by 9am the fish had stopped fizzing and despite a south westerly blowing a nice ripple at me no more bites came and I packed up at half ten.
 Now back to the dilemma I was talking about. When I started my campaign on here I was adamant that I did not want to sit behind a pair of alarms and bait runners so opted for traditional feeder tactics and baits before introducing a second 'sleeper' rod on an alarm just to try and tempt an extra bite or two. However it has now become clear that some days they prefer maggot and caster feed and others a carpet of food laced groundbait. I had been slightly worried of the feeder rod going off whilst doing something else with the other rod and tried to keep a good eye on it but with savage bites coming out of the blue I risk loosing a rod or worse tethering a fish. I would still like to sit and watch a quiver tip but I'm now seriously thinking of swapping to two rods on alarms, after all the fish come first and I can still fish light ish line and groundbait feeders.
Your thoughts and suggestions please....................

Friday, 1 June 2012

Back for more......... or not

Been back to the little pool yesterday evening, I was please to see just two lads sat quietly fishing in one corner, thought it would be empty with the weather not been as hot. However the fish seemed to have taken a disliking to it too, not a lot on top and the ones I did see were just cruising around a foot or two under the surface, I never saw one carp come up for a bait even the oily floaters I got today only interested the rudd. 
On wandering around looking for fish I came across some bubbles that looked fishy so decided to opt for plan b and float fish mussels and corn, soon after it became clear there was a group of fish absolutely ripping the bottom apart! The water was just frothing like a jacuzi, I even had fish head and shouldering right over my float  2 rods out. but it wasn't to be today, the float dipped and weaved and buried 3 times and I connected with fresh air.
It was a cracking night to be by the pool though as it looked stunning and all I could here were the birds tweeting in the tress 

Monday, 28 May 2012

Nice evening session

 I made my return to the little pool in the woods this evening in search of the resident carp, now carp fishing is not something I'm really into but I do enjoy a bit of stalking and surface fishing for smaller ones during the summer so off I headed with a 1.5lb tc float rod, trusty reel loaded with 8lb line, a bag of bread and bucket of mixers. As I arrived it was a little off putting that the tiny pool was almost full with around 8 anglers already there, now I must add that this place seldom see's a serious angler and all those fishing had limited knowledge or skill apart from in drinking cans and smoking some rather strong smelling stuff! So as I set about flicking a few mixers in and trying my luck early on with a lump of bread I was told, or rather shouted at across the pool that the carp were impossible to catch and I didn't stand a chance by more that one jolly soul.
 They were soon eating their words as carp number one landed on the mat after just ten minutes of fishing, the fish was met by calls of 'wow that's a monster' and something else along the lines of  'I bet that weighs 25lb' however it was more like 8lb but a nice looking proper old English fish, no sign of a pellet belly here. That put the fish off for a bit but I was happy as the local muppets started to head home around 6pm for more beer and grass.
 I soon had another group of fish slurping mixers down and didn't have to wait long for the next fish to fall to a lump of bread, another good 5 minute scrap and it was in the net, only for me to discover it was the same fish I had caught not an hour before at the other end of the pool! It was easy to tell by the wounds on one flank from spawning last week, I slipped it back and tried for another but the fish had shifted. As some more lads left I moved on again and got some fish feeding around some over hanging bushes really close in where I could just dangle a bait in front of them, 3 aborted takes saw me switch to a mixer and first drop in a carp spotted it from 3 yards away and came straight at it mouth wide open and sucked it down. Another good fight saw a very nice looking common of around 7lb on the mat.

The light was starting to fade now and that was making spotting the fish harder and they now seemed less interested in staying in one spot to feed and were drifting around in small groups of 2's and 3's. With just two lads sharing one swim I made two circuits of the pool flicking baits here and there for half an hour before I heared the tell tale slurp from feeding fish just up from where I had the common, they were going mad for mixers and bits of bread that had drifted under a bush so I dropped a lump of bread as close too it as possible, it had only been out 30 seconds when another mirror came up and grabbed it, this one was the biggest of the day, around 9lb.
 The fish were now well spooked and with the light fading fast I headed home. Lets hope this warm weather carries on as I really want to catch one of the 3 big kois swimming around in here, I saw them plenty of times tonight but they are far from daft. twice the big white one came up and nudged my bait around with its nose before swimming off to scoff 'safe baits' and the other two just kept swimming under them.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Lucky dipping

Had a quick session with my mate Martin this morning to a small but very nice looking pond in some local woods, it's one of those places that gets a bad name due to the local population of idiots and layabouts frequenting the area. However it has now been taken over by someone and he has done a good job of tidying the place up and as a results the local yobs now stay away.
 For years people have been chucking over grown garden pond fish in and up until around 10 years ago the same guy controlled the fishing before he had to work away and gave it up, he also stocked a few fish, and once again he has introduced some new stock, mainly ornamental stuff like blue and golden orfe, rudd and golden rudd and even some gold fish! It also holds quite a good number of carp both normal and cross bread koi and there is some stunning looking fish swimming around, its very deep and surrounded by mature woodland which means its bathed in sun most of the day and has little wind on it and the fish like to spend a lot of time on the top.
 Today was the first time I have fished it for around 6 years and all I can say is that it does actually look like a very large garden pond. I started with a light float rod fishing a couple of foot deep with maggots and casters catching a few fish but missing loads of quick bits as the fish dashed and darted around just under the surface. I had a couple of skimmers, a few nice roach and rudd and two stunning golden rudd, the biggest around 10oz.

By now Martin had arrived and was catching a few roach and rudd fly fishing again so I thought I would try my hand at it again. I was much better today after ten minuits of practise and soon had a couple of rudd to my name, then the carp bug bit and I spent an unsuccessful hour or so trying to coax carp and kois into taking my fly. Martin stayed on a while after me and has had a few other colourful fish.
 I can't wait to go back again, next time armed with some bread and dog biscuits for those carp, some of which clearly run to double figures.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Down to earth with a bump

I was on the old lake and fishing for 5am this morning and feeling confident after my success last week, I chose a different swim this time mainly as it gave me a better angle to put one of rods on the spot that has been seeing plenty of bait over the last few weeks as the wind was blowing the other way.
 It was a glorious morning to be out and as the sun was forecast to beat down I thought the extra early 3.30am alarm would be worth it. I stuck with my usual tactics of maggot feeder on one rod and groundbait on the other and set about putting in some bait then sat back with tea in handing thinking one of the would rattle off shortly. The time went by quickly and I was soon starting to wander where the tench were as it turned 7 o'clock, it was warming up fast and with Little wind on the water I started to make little changes to the rigs and baits but nothing seemed to interest them.
 At 9.30 I called it day and left empty handed, I'm hoping they haven't decided to start spawning and that it was just an off day as the weed is only just starting to grow which should leave it fishable until the rivers open.
I shall be back next week to try again anyway.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Cracking mornings work

 I was up and out of the house at 4.30am again this morning for another go at those tench I had on Tuesday. I was planning on waiting till Saturday but looking at the weather made me change my mind as it's forecast to be a bit frosty tonight and bright sunshine tomorrow, so even though today had a chilly breeze it looked better than tomorrow.
 I chose to fish the same swim again as I knew where the clear spots in the weed were and I had left the reels clipped up last time, only today I decided the fish were not going to get the better of me in the reed beds and opted to stick my waders on and sit out in the water, this gave me a better angle with the rods on the clear spots and also meant that I could get out past the reeds before the tench got in them.

Now all the fish I have hook and landed on here this year have come to a groundbait feeder rig fished on a tip apart from one lost fish the other day that took a bolt rigged maggot feeder, my mate Jon has also had success fishing the same so imagine my surprise when not ten minuets after casting out the bite alarm on the so called sleeper rod signalled a screaming run and a nice 4lb tench lay in the net. Another real old warrior, there must be something about these older, wiser (or not so) tench been first up on a morning as I had one the other day first thing. Happy to have a fish in the net so soon I re-cast both rods and went to pour some tea when the alarm went off again, this time a dogged fight saw the fish doing the usual trick of kiting left for the weeds only this time I was ready and waded through them to meet the fish with the net. As I lifted it from the water I realised I could be hold a new pb as it felt way heavier than the 5's I had on Tuesday and with a pb just short of 6lb this fish wouldn't be far off so I slipped it into the keep net to weigh later. I had only just finished off my tea and re-cast the rods when the alarm wailed at yet another screaming run, a fight much the same as the last saw me with another slightly bigger than the last and I knew now I had 1 if not 2 pb's in the net and 3 fish in total within the first hour! Expecting another run anytime soon I put breakfast off until I was starving, nothing came in the next hour so I got the flask and porridge out and it wasn't until around 8am that I got another bite. By now the wind had picked up a lot and was making it hard work landing the feeders in the right spot, I had just re cast the bolt rigged maggot feeder and was setting the bobbing when I felt a slow steady pull on the line through my fingers, thinking it was the wind and tow pulling I let out some more line and clipped on the bobbing only to have it pulled slowly to the rod, ah wind I thought as it dropped down around 4 inch only to pop up again and line slowly start to peel off the bait runner. I lifted into it and it wasn't long before I had a nice fat slab of a bream around 4.5lb-5lb sat in the landing net. Not long after the quiver tip finally pulled around and a steady fight saw me drawing the fish closer to the bank only for it to come off, I was thinking another hook pull but on winding in found a scale on the hook and a very slimmed up line.
 At around 9.30am the bait runner burst into life again only not quite so fast and on lifting into the fish I instantly knew it was bigger, it felt heavy and made plenty of slow runs taking line from the reel each time. It took me a while to get it close to the bank and once there did the usual trick of heading for the reed beds only for me to now be able to head it off, a couple of rolls confirmed it was bigger and I was now shaking as it set off on a powerful run, thankfully to the right and away from the thickest of the reeds. It took a good five minuets of powerful runs before finally rolling into the net and spitting the hook out! I decided not to mess around and weighed the fish in the net before slipping it into the net for a trophy shot later, I went back and weighed the net and that fish went 6lb 15oz, a new pb by almost a pound. Happy as a pig in muck I left the rod on the bank and sat and had a bite to eat and more tea.

It wasn't until around half past 10 that I had any more action, the maggot rig roaring off again with a five pounder, shortly after I packed up as the wind was getting stronger and making it just about impossible to land on the spot, distance was no issue but the stiff side wind constantly blew 2oz feeders way off line.
I'm sat here now scratching my head as to why the fish suddenly decided they liked maggots and why I never managed a fish on the method that has been successful for my self and Jon over the last few weeks???
I'm over the moon with not just the pb but all the fish this week, it's been great and the only down side is I cant get back on the bank for the next two weeks or so.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Fluff chucking and wood wanging!

 I headed out for something a little different today with my mate Martin, a bit of piking and, for the first time ever for me a bit of fly fishing. Martin had originally planned a days fly fishing for trout on the upper River Dearne and offered me the chance to borrow some of his gear and hopefully teach me how to fly fish. However with the bits of rain we have had over the last couple of weeks the river is running around normal winter level and holding some colour so an alternative had to be found as it would be just too much like hard work for a total novice like my self. So Martin suggested a few hours pike fishing on a large local reservoir before moving onto a tiny pond he knew of to try and tempt some rudd on dry flies. As I have only done odd bits of pike fishing before I used Martins bait casting rod and multiplier reel and had the use of his lure collection and himself opting to fly fish for them. I must say the large flies he ties himself for pike look just like bits of fluff to me but once underwater look more realistic than the lures I was using, some of which he also makes him self
 So we slipped our waders on and proceeded to work our way along the shallow margins chucking wood and flinging fluff for the pike. The first spot we came to had a long wooden jetty poking out through the dense reed beds into a large bay, I had a few trial casts to get used to the short rod and upside down reel before working the lure along the edge of the reed beds. It wasn't long before a jack took a liking to the lure and promptly had it yanked from its grasp by my over enthusiasm, I had another follow before we decided to move on. We worked our way along with no further interest to flies or lures until we got near the dam wall and re-joined the bank. It was now time for me to attempt fluff chucking, or should I say budgie chucking! Now over the years I have been able to quickly turn my hand to most things fishing but this was bloody hard work and soon had me beat, although Martin did say it would be far far easier to learn with light dry flies and lighter rods. So after hooking the floor behind me twice (and I mean hooking not snagging!) nearly taking both our heads off and looking like I lost a silly string fight at a party I handed the fly rod over and we worked our way back towards the car. Martin decided to stay in the water and work a fly along the reeds again and I opted to stay on the bank and head to the spot we started in and try to catch a pike whilst waiting for the fluff chucker to arrive. I had had a few casts by the time he arrived and he suggested we made a move to the small pond just as a small jack followed the lure in and missed it again, one more go I announced and dropped the lure back in the same spot. This time I let the fish have it and in the clear water I could see the fish chase the lure before grabbing hold and giving it a shake, I wound down and set the hooks home.
And here it is, my first ever lure caught pike................................... yer yer yer lets have it, that's proper pike bait!

We decided it was time to move on and jumped in the car. We arrived at the pond not long after and its very nice looking although rather small but seems to be teaming with rudd, there were obviously lots of fish around as we could plenty of movement on the surface. It also contains a few carp so we put some dog mixers out in the hope we could try and get them up and try a large fly for one, the rudd took a liking to them right away and made finding the fish easy although they seemed to be a bit far out for my limited fly casting skills. Now kitted out with a much lighter outfit and tiny dry fly I started to get the hang of it and was actually managing to get the fly in the water on just about every attempt, but not long after arriving it started to rain and the felt much cooler than it had in the morning and this seemed to push the fish down in the water. I honed my skills for an hour or so and just like this morning with the pike, managed to pull the fly right from the fishes mouth on a couple of occasions. Martin was catching the odd tiny rudd, and I mean tiny! although he was rather happy when he caught a small but very nice true golden rudd taking his tally to 9 different species caught on the fly which I find excellent. The rain was getting heavier by the minuet now and Martin suggested I try fishing a tiny nymph lower in the water, he quickly tied me one on and I was back fishing or should I say poaching as I seemed to have stolen his spot. However with the slightly heavier nymph and my ever increasing skills I was able to get the bait out and along the reed bed the rudd were hiding around and soon felt a small tug on the end of the line, missed it but next cast I hook one and was chuffed to bits with my first ever fly caught fish. If you thought the pike was small then take a look at this rudd.

All in all I had an enjoyable day even if it did result in two of the smallest fish your ever likely to see species wise. Should the offer come again, which I'm sure it will to do a spot of fluff chucking I'll jump at the chance although I think I'll stick to dry flies and nymph's for now but I don't think I'll be trading the rods in for a fly outfit any time soon. On the other hand I think I will be looking for a lure rod and reel though.