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.
You can also follow me on face book by clicking here
Keep checking back for news of some exciting products that I have in the pipe line!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

November 2013

 First trip this month was a short impromptu lure trip on the local canal. It had been my weekend to have my lad but he had a party to attend so I needed to have him home for dinner time so rather than waste the afternoon I grabbed my small selection of lure fishing gear and headed off.

 Now its been quite a while since I have done any serious pike fishing and even longer since I tried to catch a large perch by design and last year I got my self a few bits and bobs, gave them a try twice and gave up. I promised my self I would get out more this coming winter so I kicked it off today.

 I know of an area of canal where the silver fish shoal up so I headed straight there, I fanned the water with my rather small selection of lures for an hour or so and managed just one missed strike, nothing big as I saw it hit the surface as I stuck into it. There were signs of small fish about as quite a few kept topping and some even seemed to be trying to avoid something lurking below. The size of the fish showing though and lack of large swirls on the surface got me thinking, the area is also known to hold quite a few good perch so a slight change was made.

 In my little lure box I also have a nice set of tiny ultra lite rubber lures so on went a roach style one. Soon enough I felt the braid tighten and I hit into a fish, I don't think it realised quite what was going on at first as it just came in as I wound, that was until it got almost to the bank, it then decided to go on a bit of a run. The fish was soon subdued though, the medium strength rod and 35lb braid easily saw to that. After a bit of head shaking on the surface the fish was soon in the net. My first proper lure caught pike, not a monster, 5lb+ or so but much bigger than my only other lure caught pike of around a pound!

 I had been expecting a good perch to show first but I wasn't complaining. Nothing much else came after that so I changed the lure for another of the ultra lites, a tiny pike pattern and moved up towards some over hanging cover, again I didn't have to make too many casts before I felt something. This time the strike met with less resistance and the tell tale feeling of a fish shaking its head told me I was attached to a decent perch. As I got it close (although still not seen) I realised the net was out of reach so I moved along the tow path towards it, once there I also had to extend the handle. The path here is quite high off the water too and as I put the net down it slid towards the water and I had to make a grab for it, this meant the line went slack and the fish threw the hooks.

 I never got a look at that fish so I can't say how big it was, all I know is it put a decent bend int he medium lure rod. I carried on though and soon had my first ever lure caught perch, all 6oz of the little beast. I continued my way up the tow path towards the car and was glad of the warmth of the heater once I got there as when the sun dipped today it felt positively cold for the first time this year.

 My rather small lure selection
The ultralight the pike took a liking too

 My next session was to be a bit of a guiding trip, now I don't claim to be any sort of pike expert but my mate JD has been wanting to try for a pike for ages but kept putting it off as he had no idea how to handle them so I offered to go with him, set him up and hope we got a fish or two out of the local canal so I could demonstrate how to unhook them.

 I had arrived earlier than planned so decided to pass the time on till JD got there chucking an ultralight around. I had a couple of follows off small perch before landing one around 6oz again. JD arrived just after I had chucked a float ledgered smelt out into the boat channel. I set his rod up for him and offered some guidance on hitting takes and what have you before we sat back to discuss the day ahead. Things were slow going but soon enough JD had us a roach on his light gear which was promptly attached to my second rod and allowed to wander around the canal basin we were fishing.

 By dinner time things were getting a bit desperate so I suggested a move further up the canal to the remains of an old lock, there's also a couple of far bank bushes that over hang into the water and a wide, reed lined bay that provides plenty of cover for the pike to hide amongst. One rod was fished over towards the bay in some quite shallow water, it may have cooled off but it just looks 'right' for there to be some fish hiding in there. And the other was fished just short of the over hanging bushes in line with the edge of the old lock wall.

 We had not been fishing an hour when the float on my rod fished near the lock disappeared from view. I wound down and connected and after a short scrap I eased the fish over the net JD had sunk for me. Now though the fun began. You could call this unlucky or in a way lucky but the fish decided to do the dreaded roll of death in the net and made a right mess with the loose treble and the trace quick link getting snagged up and the fish tangled in the mesh. The perfect opportunity then to show a new comer to pike fishing how to sort it out.

 Once on the mat the first thing out and in use were the wire cutters and I just cut the trace off above the fish between the two sets of trebles, cut the top of the trace away from the main line to get the rod away and within seconds the fish was laid on the mat and the mess was sorted. It was then just a case of showing JD how to run his fingers under the gills, open the mouth and pop the hooks out. The fish was soon back in the water and resting in the net before weighing. On the dial she went 9lb 12oz.

 My lure collection has now grown a little, I even have a proper lure box! There are one or two more pike lures but also quite a few ultralights for the perch. Main reason for this is I have got my long awaited transfer at work which puts me on a new shift with more time for fishing, yey. It will open up opportunities for short sessions before having to collect the kids from school, perfect for nipping down the local canal for some predator action and come the warmer months a bit of carp stalking on a couple of local ponds.

 Anyway, last week was my last on my old job and as I am due to start the new one Sunday night I blagged Friday off and headed to a local river in search of some monster perch that have been showing. Now as anglers we all have our strengths and weaknesses and my down fall is the complete lack of been able to travel light and rove around the banks. Call me lazy or whatever but I just cant seem to get into it and I'm much happier plonking my bum down in a spot for a few hours and filling it in.

 Maybe my rods are too long or my net too big but all I ever seem to do is spend my time freeing my self from jungle of undergrowth rather than fishing. Then for me there is the comfort issues, after half an hour crouched, knelt, sat under some usually prickly bush my knees and legs are killing me. However I fear if I am to get into some of these local big fish it is something I'm going to have to over come.

 So anyway Friday, ermmm to put it bluntly it was crap. I got snarled up in the trees and bushes resulting in setting up 3 times, it was blowing a gale, the leaves were a menace then it started to rain. After an hour the tip flew round only for me to land a 6 inch trout that took a liking to my lob worm that I had managed to flick right under the bush after 17 failed attempts. After two hours my legs were killing from me been sort of sat on them, I got monk on and sloped off home. But hey ho I might go and do it again next Friday.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

October 2013

 Welcome to what is my last blog in it's current format, although this one is a bit half and half shall we say. Due to a number of things I will now be updating on a monthly basis rather than after each trip, mainly due to sneaking short quick trips in then not having the time to sit and babble on about them but, to make up for the lack of reports I will try to add in more technical info about my rigs, methods and the gear I use.

 So first up is a couple of bits from the start of the month. At the back end of September I fished the yorkshire fishing autumn social at The Oaks, Sessay. 24hrs on a puddle for a pasty was not my idea of fun but a good laugh was had by most and I met some more great lads. Despite the poor fishing I have booked on the next one and will be hoping for something bigger and better when we fish Pool bridge farm's Q lake in the spring.
 I had a trip down to the tidal Trent at the start of the month and made a total mess of judging the weather and river conditions, so much so I sacked it off mid afternoon and went exploring! I went down for a day time tide with half a gallon of maggots, it was hotter, brighter and clearer than forecast and the water was like gin. Had I had gone down to fish into dark I may have stood half a chance. Plenty of small stuff smashed the maggots to bits but two fish did stand out, firstly an eel around 12/14oz. Not the biggest but the first I have caught for a long time, nice to see there are still some around. And next up a cracking roach that fell to the pellet rod, short of my pb by half a pound but still a nice fish and not a mark on it. On the scales it went 1lb 6oz, just a shame it was cranked in.

 The Thursday evening following saw me sat on the Calder in what again seemed good conditions but despite quite an amount of rainfall during the week the river was only around 18in up and not holding any colour. I dropped into a supposedly banker swim and sat it out until well into dark and never had a pull.

 Queue rain dance.
I was now starting to curse the weather, yes it had been one of those rarely seen long, hot, dry summers but it was having adverse effects on my fishing. To put it bluntly it was crap! Well for barbel fishing on my chosen rivers anyway. Then it happened, around the middle of the month we got some of the best weather fronts an angler could wish for blowing warm, wet weather up from the south. It rained and blew and the rivers filled up.............................. Party time.
 Of course I was at work all week and every day when I got home I logged into facebook to see report after report of barbel captures, checking the EA level site also showed things look good for my weekend trip. After a few texts and phone calls to various friends a plan was hatched and I knew which part of the tidal Trent I was heading.
As I crossed the river it didn't look too high and once bank side I estimated there to be around 4 to 5ft of extra water in, high tide was to be around 2pm giving me the best hours into darkness although I had been informed that with the extra water it was unlikely to back up and run up stream which tbh suited me better and also proved to be correct, the colour was spot on and for the first time since about the middle of June I was feeling confident. With the extra water and colour I felt sure big smelly baits would score although I did have a back up plan in place as you never know. I may have been loaded up like a pack horse but it would be worth it later. I had set off earlier that first planned and was there for 10.30.
I followed the advice I had been given by a friend and dropped into a suggested swim, I have fished here before and know the whole area to be snaggy so it was straight out with a big lead as I didn't want it moving around. I was pleasantly surprised though when I found I could hold bottom with 5oz upstream and 6oz down, only an ounce more than is usually required along this stretch. I opted to start on big baits and see if the fish were about and in a feeding mood. The downstream rod was rigged up with 3ft of 12lb E.S.P. gravel braid with a size 6 Drennan super specialist hook, mounted on the hair was a huge chunk of smelly flavoured meat held on with a Fox meat stop. The upstream rod had the same hook link attached but was matched with a Korum Xpert power size 10 hook and baited with a home made glugged bollie and paste wrap. Both rods were fished with Korum running rig kits and quick clips for changing hook links.
 For 3 hours I swapped and changed baits around on both rods, meat, boillies, and big pellets wrapped in paste but nothing seemed to interest the fish. My upstream rod did have a medium swim feeder attached and I had been putting some of my own SBC ground bait but only recasting every half hour or so, the downstream rod was fished with a lead and P.V.A bag of pellets and again cast every half hour or so. There were signs of fish about as I saw a number crashing and some were very clearly barbel, I had to do something.
 The river looked so good I felt the fish just had to be feeding, I just needed to give them something to get their heads down so as the river slowed at the top of the tide (as I said it didn't stop and back up, just filled) on went one of my big feeders and I made ten casts one after the other to get some bait out, quite possibly the best part of half a kilo of mix. I then replaced my hook link with the standard Trent issue 6ft combi link, size 14 Korum Xpert hook and 2 small pellets glued onto the hair. The downstream rod was left as it was to fish big baits as I knew the barrage on the upstream rod would see fish pass over it anyway to get to the banquet I had laid out.
 On only my second cast the rod nodded away like a bream had hooked its self so I was taken by surprise when the fish shot off as I picked the rod up. The fish put up a good fight and after ten minutes I finally got to put my new large Wychwood folding spoon to good use, it easily swallowed what I though would be a double and proved great at leaving the fish to rest in the margins while I readied the scales and camera. The fish was still trying to fight me on the mat and refused to pose nicely for a quick self take. On the scales I was a little surprised at its lack of weight although its been a year almost since I had a barbel much over 6lb but at 9lb 1oz I was happy.

 Next cast and I was in again, this time though the fish proved quicker than me and got its head into the nearside snags by swimming towards me faster than I could wind and saw me having to pull for a break after a while. An hour or so later the heavily baited upstream rod was off again, this time though I cranked for England and headed down into the next swim, I could feel much bumping and banging down the rod and was relieved when the fish set off on a down stream run. Disaster soon followed though as once I started to crank it back towards me the line parted, the fish must have dragged me over something that had cut into the line. On setting the rod back up I had to remove around 5 rod lengths of line that had clearly been damaged.

 It then went a little quiet, I kept casting my feeder rod upstream every ten to fifteen minutes and swapped baits around on the other rod after half an hour or so but that one stayed still all day. The sun had dropped behind the flood bank, the light was fading and I had started to gather the gear together when out of the corner of my eye I saw the upstream rod nodding away again. Thankfully the Korum gripper rests and butt cups held firm although the baitrunner was on anyway. I picked up and the fish set off on a 20 yards screaming run, it felt a good one too and i knew there was only one way I was going to get it out and that was to head down my self so I grabbed the net and I was off. 

 Two swims down it stopped and I started to gain some line only for it to tear off again, next swim along and it decided to hang in the flow instead, it took me a good while to get it close in. The fish had other ideas though and it was off again. As I gained line though I felt some sort of bang down the rod and the tension eased, fearing the worst I wound in what felt like my feeder only for it to pull back after a few turns. It was still on! Now closed in the fish went wild under the rod tip boring down on a tight clutch every time it came up, eventually though in the last light it rolled in the net. I don't know who was more exhausted, me or the fish.

 After a good rest in the net the fish went 9lb 8oz and fell short of what I again though was a double, had it been I would have got the camera back out but as it was almost dark I decided to let the fish have a good rest in the net while I packed some gear away. I was going to have one last chuck as you do but after unhooking the fish I found the rig was trashed from top to bottom and I don't know how it managed to stay on. Can't moan at a brace of nines and  hopefully it will stay warm enough for me to make a return trip in a couple of weeks time.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Cracking the Calder

 Sorry for the lack of updates recently but since the capture of my first Calder barbel I've been having a bit of a lean spell, a lot of which I'll blame on the weather and low water levels in the rivers. A couple of days after that fish and into August I returned to the same area for another evening session, the water level had now dropped a fair bit but it was still holding a fair colour. It was not to be though, one chub around 3lb hit the net and all I could muster at dusk was a series of chub wraps.

 The middle of the month saw me heading southbound on the A1 to the tidal Trent for an afternoon into dark session, the tides were good but again it was warm although not scorching hot and the river was clear. nothing much during the day and as darkness fell the bream came on the feed. No barbel and half a dozen snotties to show for my efforts.

Another evening was spent on the Calder, this time lower down river so far as a different town even and my first down here since opening week. The session was cut short with nothing but a small chub to show as a torrential down pour passed over. Last week I headed out one evening for a bit of surface fishing for some local carp but the weather again played a part. Not the high heat and bright sun that has played havoc with my river fishing but a drop in temperature and a stiff breeze. This sent the fish down to the depths instead of cruising around on the top. Should have gone barbel fishing! And Friday I headed to the same local pond with my youngest for a couple of hours bit bashing finished off with a pedalo ride and ice cream too.

 Yesterday was again fishing day, with small tides and clear water the Trent went out of the window and I decided to stay local. Another reason was I was starting to feel the lack of fish and knowing the barbel were unlikely to feed till later on I decided to take a leave out of a fellow anglers book and spend the afternoon trotting, I would then head back to the car for a change of gear and get settled for the evening.

I made my way out to a large pool below a weir and set about trotting a fast deep run, it soon became apparent though that the wind was going to be a problem as it dragged my 4 gram Avon away from the features. Fish were coming regularly though, dace, roach, the odd small chub and in the couple of hours there I had 3 chub that were well over 2lb. The wind only got stronger though and forced me to move on.

 I dropped down into the next pool where I have done very well from before, this one is right under a road bridge and the wind was even worse as it was funnelled through the arches making it one big wind tunnel.
I persevered for a while and again the silvers were quick to find the bait before two good trout in two trots muscled in and as I had left my coat in the car I was starting to feel that wind. I had a mooch around some other pools but with the water level again been so low and the temperature dropping the fish had clearly started to leave their summer quarters.

 This had forced me to make the change a little earlier than I had planned, I headed to the car and down to McDonald's for tea (there are perks to inner city fishing). On my return I dropped into a swim I have not fished before but always fancied. You adjacent to the weir sill and can drop into the fast water below fishing over the top of a large washing machine like eddy that just screams fish, only down side is there's a humongous obstacle on your right that stops you going or casting any further down stream and it was this that saw me moving again.

 A huge raft of rubbish made up of general inner city stuff lobbed into the river, pallets, beer barrels and broken trees has been building up above the weir for some time and it now looks like its broken free and cascaded down stream. Lots of the smaller stuff is now going merrily around in the huge eddy and due to the huge feature on my right meant I was unable to fish the water I wanted and keep my lines out of all that rubbish. I persevered for a while and picked plenty of small stuff up when I tried maggots including some monster gudgeon.

 I was in my next swim and fishing for around 6pm and after taking advice from my mate JD about small baits on here I was soon into a few small fish, however my feeling was that the barbel wouldn't get a look in while fishing maggots. JD then arrived and told me he never gets pestered down there on maggot! I swapped and changed a bit and at around 8pm as the light was fading with 2 6mm donner kebab pellets I hit what I though was a good chub wrap. I was wrong and my second Calder barbel and first from this length was trying to get into the tree roots, constant pressure soon saw me win though and a splashy almost fin perfect 3 pounder lay on the mat.

 The next hour soon passed and I had baited a couple of hooks ready and packed most of the unrequired gear away to make it easier in the dark later. I wound in and swapped my hook link for one baited with a homemade donner kebab dumbell boillie, I nicked on my last tiny pva bag of pellets and flicked my rig out mid river just above the tree branches. I didn't have to wait long and after a couple of knocks came the 3 foot twitch. This fish gave a good account of its self in the fast water to the point where I was surprised to see its lack of size as it went in the net.

 Anyone that says Calder barbel don't fight needs to get out and catch a few more cos this young fish was well rammed up on testosterone. This been my 3rd of the season now, the target this year been to catch one. My first from this length and also my first caught on a homemade boillie.

Almost fin perfect 4 pounder

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Mission accomplished

 As I touched on before my main aim this season was to catch my first Calder barbel, my first attempts a couple of weeks back in what must have been the lowest and clearest river conditions for years plus the hottest resulted in just a small chub. Now though the conditions couldn't be much better and yesterday I just knew I had to get on the bank.

 Since the rains arrived last week  a few barbel have been showing and with more rain on Monday night the river was spot on by yesterday afternoon, a couple of foot up still and a lovely looking brown colour. By the time I collected the other half from work, dropped her off home and arrived river side it was near on 6pm. I met up with my good mate JD who was already there, just for the sake of it I think as he too knew the river was spot on. We had a quick mooch around before he said he was not stopping much longer so I took the chance to jump in his swim as I did fancy it for a fish or two.

 Tactics had been refined a little from what I have been using over the last couple of seasons, gone were the feeders to be replaced by a running lead and small pva bags were used to feed a small amount of mixed pellet each cast. Tackle too was scaled back a bit to something very close to what I used to use on the Don, 12lb line to a 2ft hook link of 10lb Korum expert mono and a size 14 expert power hook from the same company all finished off with a single banded 11mm elips pellet. This though had been given some attention and had been soaking in my own mix of oils I am currently testing dubbed the 'doner kebab flavour' and wrapped in a matching paste.

 I cast out and sat back to chatter away to JD, soon after the rod tip knocked before pulling steadily round and the following strike met with nothing. I'm pretty sure though that it was just something been washed downstream but after JD told me they don't tear off on the bite I was taking no chances. On the following cast though there was no mistake, the 3ft twitch was followed by the tip springing back and pulling round again before I could even grab the rod and the strike met with solid resistance. The fish hung there for a while before going on a couple of long powerful runs, I managed to crank it back up stream when it decided to go nuts under the rod tip. Soon enough though it was beat and JD scooped it up with the waiting net.

 I don't know who was more pleased, me or him! Anyway I was over the moon with my first Calder barbel and equally pleased that JD was there to see it. After a rest photo's were taken and on the scales it went 6lb 13oz, not massive but a real solid nice looking fish. I was a little surprised no more followed and I never had another knock but I couldn't care one bit, I had what I came for and headed home around 9pm when heavy black clouds started to build in the sky around me.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Not for want of trying

 Sorry for the lateness folks but I just haven't had the time to get around to this, plus it wasn't exactly on my list of priorities with nothing much to shout about again.
Anyway I had last week off work on what has to have been the hottest week for a long long time and of course this had an effect on my intended species and methods.

 With the week off I had set my self the task of catching my first Calder barbel, with the forecast been for hot bright weather and family life to fit in too I decided on a couple of early dawn starts. Monday was my first and that saw me heading home mid morning after a blank although I kind of knew my tactics were wrong with such low clear river conditions. I had gone all out with big baits, pellets and paste wraps and all I had to show for it were knocks from the little fish ripping the paste off.

 Wednesday I was back in the same spot this time armed with hemp and casters and a small selection of pellets as a back up. Again no barbel but a couple of small bait robbing chub on caster hook baits. The days were getting hotter and the river was getting lower and I felt my best chance would come on an evening but I had things to do at home and it was mornings or nothing so I needed another plan.

 As most of you know I don't do much if any proper carp fishing but enjoy a bit of surface/stalking so looked  in on a local lake after dropping the little one off at school after dinner on Wednesday. I knew the lake held a few good carp but I must admit I was shocked by the number of carp I was met with as  I arrived lakeside and also the size. On talking to a regular most of the lakes carp stock were in front of me on the surface basking in the sun, approx 20 or so fish including a couple pushing 20lb and the resident 'big one' which tops out around 36-37 and comes out a hand full of times a year.

 That was it, I had seen enough and was back Thursday morning at dawn armed with some particles and pellets plus a bucket of mixers and half a loaf of bread. I did a quick circuit of the lake and baited a few likely looking spots with the particle mixture and got the gear out of the car, a 2lb Tc rod matched up to my centre pin, 8lb line and a quill float. I worked my way around the spots float fishing flake and corn for a couple of hours and had 2 pesky bream to show before I saw a group of carp spook on the surface as some gulls flew over head, I knew then it was time to get the floater gear out.

 I soon found the group of fish that had spooked and set about giving them some free offerings, to be honest they were not too interested and sulked off apart from one double figure common. This fish stuck around and kept taking the odd mixer, enough to prompt me to put a bait out anyway. My lump of crust had not been out long before the said carp took an interest only for me to pull the hook and bait clean out of its mouth DOH. This spooked it for a while before it settled into feeding again on some baits that had drifted a little further up the bank. Out with another bread bait and soon enough the carp came slurping along again only for me to the same as last time DOUBLE DOH.

 I moved on and pestered a trio of good fish that were more interested in basking as they drifted off each time I wound my controller anywhere near them. A quick lap of the lake and I found the bulk of the fish in the same place as the day before, including those bigger fish.

 To cut a long story short it took me a couple of hours to get the fish properly feeding and not shying off each time I made a cast, even then they were still super cautious of the bait. Then out of the blue the big one appeared in the swim and set about pigging every mixer and bit of loose bread it could find, my heart was in my mouth as it made a b line for my bait only to miss by a foot! Stupid puddle pig, anyway it did a full turn and came back on it and as its mouth closed around my bait I struck only to see my controller whizz past me and into the tree behind. Gutted I recast only to make a mess of that and almost hit the carp on the head, It was now less than amused and swam off into the middle to sunbath with its mates.

 To try and get the fish to feed again I went around the other side and introduced a shed load of mixers that would drift right over the fish and towards the bottom end but by now the rather large resident bird population was wide awake and decided my mixers would make nice breakfast as did every gull for miles around. This encounter has now got me thinking though and that carp now has my name on it, so in between barbel trips and before winter then possibly next spring I'll be spending some time doing some proper carping.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Unlucky 13

 Yesterday, the 13th July saw me heading south for my first barbel and Trent session of the year. Here's a tip for you all, well two actually. Don't go fish on the 13th or on the hottest day of the year to date! Although that first bit could well be rubbish I didn't have much good luck but plenty of bad.

 Firstly this crap weather we keep going on about, we ain't in Ibiza so please kindly do one. 20 - 23 degree will do me thanks and secondly could we have some rain and plenty at that although mid week whilst I'm at work, but not this one coming as I'm on holiday. The rivers are getting desperate.

 So anyway, enough moaning. I headed to a stretch of the tidal I have not fished since about '97/98' when I still match fished, I was there in plenty of time to have a wander around and find a swim using the bit of inside info I had been given before high tide. The swim was not miles from the car but still a good walk and one I wasn't looking forward too in sweltering heat, the only bit of good look for the day happened right away though as one of the bailiffs with gate access turned up and offered me and my gear a lift back up.

 With the river been low and clear I had opted for a two pronged attack, one line short with maggot and hemp and one further out with ground bait and pellets. As I started to unpack I realised I had failed to bring a catty with me, this would make maggot fishing hard work as it would mean constant casting with the feeder as it was quite shallow to where I could throw by hand. I needn't have worried though as I sound found out 90% of my maggots were dead. Cooked in the heat no doubt. I had checked them on arriving and left them with the lids off under the car while I went for a wander but by the time I got around to unpacking them again they looked spot on for tench fishing rather than barbel. Still with enough living to provide hook baits I decided to carry on with my plan anyway.

 On with the fishing and what a pain that was, casting 6 foot hook links 3/4 of the way over with a high bank behind was proving more hassle than it was worth, but I stuck at it and soon perfected some kind of odd pendulum type effort that hit the spot but made the feeder land like a house brick. When using pellets I like to glue them to the hair, this enables different sizes to be used and give the fish something  they are not used to being hooked on all the time. The curse of the 13th was soon to strike again though as the lid on my tube of superglue refused to budge meaning I had to unscrew the hole thing only for this to also get stuck. I was now loosing patience with it and was determined to get it off only for the whole tube to explode.

 Never fear I though, I can always band them instead and reached for my rig wallet only to find I had left it in the sun. Whats the issue there you may ask? Well I had quite a number of ready tied rigs ready to go only it seems the brown drennan latex pellet bands melt when its 30 degrees and all the ones on my pre tied rigs had turned into something like the dog fires out when he's polished a curry off. I could go on but I won't...........

 Any way my dead maggot line soon produced the first bream of the day as expected before a savage bite resulted in a barbel of around 2lb, nice to see but sadly the only one of the day as it was followed by more bream. 6 or 7 in total. TBH I couldn't get into it, I don't know if it was the troubles I had at the start or the heat but I just didn't fancy putting much effort in and it was clear it was going to be hard going.

 My mission this week, as I'm off work is to catch my first Calder barbel. I have only tried twice before so watch this space.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Moving on

 Wednesday morning saw me back on the old estate lake hoping for one or two nice tench before they spawn and arriving at 4am I found I had the place to my self. I dropped into a swim I have not fished much this year as there were signs of fish about out in the lake, the tench waving its tail at me out of the water though just a couple of rod lengths out made my choice for me!

 The fishing was very slow, not helped by the hot sun with only a gentle breeze to ripple the water now and again. One bream around 4lb is all I managed. There were though signs of fish a little further up the lake. During the summer this place is weeded up solid and it is now on its way and moving quickly towards my swims. Along the edge of this and also into it there were fish moving about, I was not 100% if they were feeding or spawning but it tempted me into one last shot.

 Yesterday I was back, loaded up with bait. Well as its my last shot I thought I may as well empty the freezer of whats left and fill it in, I'll either bag up or there not on the feed anyway. Arriving before dawn I jumped into the swim along which the ever increasing bank of weed is moving to and had both rods out for 4am. Then I set about spodding a mix of dead maggot, hemp, corn and casters over the top. 3-4 pints of bait went over each rod.

 At just before 5 the far rod along the weed bed screamed into life and I soon had a very fit 4lb male laid on the mat, I thought I was in for a few more but  had to wait until 8am for another sign when a steady take on the near rod resulted in a bream around 5lb. As the sun got up so did the tench, cavorting in and around the weed beds, clearly with things other than feeding on their minds, so with that I packed up and ended what has been a frustrating spring on here. The weather I feel been the root cause, the cold hung on and on and then when it did finally get warm it was too warm coupled with high pressure systems and lack of any real wind. I never had a day where there was a good blow or low pressure system this year.

 With a couple of hours to kill yesterday afternoon and the sun been out I made a spur of the moment decision to head up to a little local pool that I've fished on and off for years. There are some nice original carp that run to low doubles along with half a dozen koi to similar that all seem to be suckers for bread and mixers, that is until you drop in with a hook attached. One fish in particular I want more than any other and that's the big white koi, many times I have watched it nudge baits and whack stuff with its tail never once actually take a freebie in its mouth.

 I soon found groups of fish and put some bait out but it became clear the masses of rudd, orfe and goldfish the pool also holds were going to be a nightmare as they would not leave my free lined bread alone. Soon enough though a group of carp including the big koi came slurping along taking every free bait going including the koi! I put some more out which promptly spooked them for a short while, this gave me chance to get my hook bait out there and a few free offerings of bread further to my side kept most of the small fish happy.

 I could see the fish heading back my way so I tried to manoover my bait into their path, would you believe it the big white koi sucked my lump of bread straight down and I promptly pulled the hook right out of its mouth, Gutted. The fish cleared me out again and moved off. After a short time spent feeding the fish came back again but the small fish were been a right pain and I couldn't keep a bait in the water. One goldfish was so determined to get my bread I dragged it across the surface and the fish followed it all the way in more than once.

 The carp were soon back although not looking as confident as before, one or two nice mirrors were having a go but like usual the koi's were been very picky. I saw the big black and orange one take a mixer so tried to pull my bait towards it slightly only for the big white one to appear again right by it. the fish tuned and came back at it only for the vortex from its fins to spin the bread about and as the fish came up mouth wide open it missed!

 Time was ticking and I didn't have long before I had the school run to do so moved along the bank to where another group of fish were taking odd mixers that had blown on the wind. I cast past the fish and wound back to them, as I did so I spooked a mirror that swam away from the bait only for it to turn 180 degree about 4 yard further on, it paused before heading towards my bread at a fair old speed. It got about 4 or 5 feet away and stuck its head clean out of the water and sucking like its life depended on it.

 This fish wanted that bread and nothing was going to get in its way,  as it closed in it dipped under the surface, came up mouth open and engulfed my bait and bang it was on. The water exploded and the fish dived to the depths. These old fish fight just as hard as they are to hook, it charged about like mad for 5 minutes or so before it came up just off the rod end. It dived for the tree roots but I held on and the low double came wallowing to the top, like a tool I tried to bundle it straight into the net only for the hook to pull and the fish sit there just out of range for a few seconds before sliding away.

Monday, 17 June 2013

YEY its river time

 First session of the season today on my local river, albeit only a short one. I headed onto the Calder with my mate Martin unsure of what to expect, it looked good if not a little low but word from the guys fishing yesterday was it was hard going.

 I arrived a while before Martin and jumped into a favourite spot, a nice deep glide off the point of an island. Trotting maggots I expected some quick action but I was rather surprised when after 15 minutes I had not had a bite, clearly for some reason the fish were not in residence so I waded out across the shallows to trot another couple of deeper runs between gravel beds for the same result.

 Martin arrived and we headed up into the weir pool run off to trot the pools and runs that are dotted about. With a couple of anglers already fishing the largest of the pools we were forced to explore some of the smaller ones, Martin dropped into one he has had good results from before and I settled for what is probably the smallest not expecting a deal from it. However I was soon into a procession of small chub and the odd dace. I had soon caught most of its residents and possibly spooked the rest so I moved onto the next pool, by this time Martin was catching quite a few fish in his pool. My next choice turned out to be a lot shallower and just a few minnows fell to my trotted maggots.

 As I waded towards Martin I came across a long run that was much deeper, 4ft deep in fact and ran for quite a way so I stopped short of his position and set about feeding some maggots. Soon enough a steady stream of small chub plus odd dace and roach came before I hooked my first decent fish of the day, a chub of just over a pound. I then had a hand full of cracking Calder roach up to around 12oz before the rod hooped over, the fish put up a good scrap diving back into the fast water at the head of the pool before gliding into my hand. Trout number one was soon released and I was back into the smaller chub and roach.

 After what was probably an hour or so the fish got bigger, roach to almost a pound, chub and trout to two or a good sized dace came on just about every trot. Each time I looked over my shoulder Martin was into a fish too and from what I could see his were of equal size. But alas, as expected fishing such short runs sport dried up so we did a lap of the entire weir pool picking the odd small fish up here and there before Martin had to head off home.

 I made my way back to the cars with him for some refreshments before heading back into the pools, the only one I had not fished so far was the one Martin had been in so I decided to give it a go now that it had had a rest. A few small fish came right away but lots of missed bites prompted me to try a caster Martin had left me. First run through the float buried and the rod hooped over, the biggest chub of the day at around 2lb slid into my waiting hand.  I had 6 or 7 of these better sized fish mixed in with a few smaller ones over the next half hour before it died.

 Almost time to head home my self  I decided to drop back into the run I had caught well from, the fish were there but now very cagey with bits coming well down the run. I moved down a little way to make controlling the float easier but I was now almost on top of the fish.  A few more small chub and dace were landed but bites were rapid and hard to hit, Each time I fed some bait I watched the fish drift back down the pool and onto the shallows below as if spooked by it so with that I called it a day. I recon I had well over 30lb of prime silver fish with 3 trout chucked in for good measure, and all in less than four hours. Cracking fishing, although I'll be happier when the fish spread out a bit and move out of the weir allowing chance to stay in one swim and build it up.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Old skool vs new skool

 I took the opportunity to have a bit of a change with the seasons tench fishing this week, due largely to the opening up of a very old, very mature overgrown pool offering the chance of catching virgin tench on the float. This pool is connected to a historic tench water that is no longer accessible and contains the same original strain tench which have been supplemented with a few extras from the main lake. There are also a few odd small carp and silver fish but the bulk of the stock is made up of quality tench which are rumoured to hit 8lb.

 Tactics for the day were to be a mix of modern and traditional, one rod fished with a bolt rigged maggot feeder on an alarm to one side and float fishing the other. Now despite owning my first centre pin for a good couple of years I have only used it for trotting on the rivers and not managed anything significant to give me a good pull so I was hoping today would change that. And for a bit of nostalgia I had also rigged up with a proper goose quill float to fish lift style.

 Setting off at 3.30am saw me arrive lake side at not much after 4, two guys were already there so I left a good gap between us and dropped into the next but one swim along. My plan had been to fish both rods but on looking around the lake I just couldn't bring my self to launch feeders when it looked so promising for float fishing. But after fishing close in by the reeds with not a sign, even a fizz from the tench I decided(or should I say the fish decided for me) that the feeder had better go out into the jacuzzi like activity that was going on in the middle of the pool.

 The second rod had been out about 20 minutes when the alarm signalled a bite and tench number one was soon in the net, a scrappy male around 3lbs. Then over the next hour or so I lost one to a hook pull and one just fell off as I picked the rod up on a screaming run. The activity died down a little and things went quiet for an hour or so and the float also remained still. I had decided against putting any ground bait in as these fish are not used to anglers baits so I stuck to feeding maggots, casters and hemp over the float and just maggots in the feeder.

 Around 7am I had two more screaming runs on the feeder and again lost them both, one of which felt a good fish and I was now cursing my look or rather the hooks! I use very few barbless hooks as most places I fish do not insist on them but this pool does. Been short of time last week meant I could not get to the only shop in the area that sells the hooks I use(korum expert in case you are wandering, also available in barbless), so I  had opted for another pattern from my local. Clearly they are rubbish and will be going in the bin.

 By 8am things were looking grim, I had still not had a bite on the float down the margins and the feeder line seemed to have gone quiet too so on with plan B. I had brought along some of my CSK ground bait I have been testing and decided to mix some up and put 3 tangerine sized balls over the area I had been float fishing, By now I had also changed the hook on my feeder rod to another pattern but I only had quite large ones with me. To get around the problem I threaded a fake maggot up the shank of a size 10 drennan super specialist hook and added 2 real ones and tbh it didn't look too bad and the fake maggot took the weight out of the hook anyway.

 Around 9am with the sun rising fast and the wind dropping less than an hour after introducing the ground bait a patch of tiny bubbles appeared in the swim so I promptly wound in and put on a fresh bait, it had not been in the water 5 minutes when the float buried and I missed it! I re-cast and what happened next was like something out of Mr Crabtree goes fishing and is in fact, despite all my years fishing and catching a few on the lift method the first time it has happened to me. I was watching the quill float along side the reeds when a patch of tiny bubbles appeared around it, the float shook slightly before dipping, then rising slightly a couple of times. It almost disappeared under the surface before it sat upright, half out of the water at 45 degrees before shooting under. The strike was met with the sound of not a screaming clutch, but a screaming ratchet. Proper old skool magic.

 As I was returning that 4 pounder the feeder rod screamed off again, this time though the new hook held and another stunning looking 4lb plus fish lay on the mat. I got both rods sorted and cast out and within not ten minutes the same thing happened again on the float rod. This time though the fish put up a more substantial fight, the feeling on the pin very different to what I am used to. I managed to keep it out of the reeds either side and luckily as it took a dive for the near bank it went straight in the waiting net. Not quite 6 I would say be well over 5, turned out to be the best of the day and I'm not 100% but I think it was a male too.

 Despite more bubbles coming up on the float line I had no more action, the sun was getting hotter and by 10.30 I was starting to think about packing up when the alarm on the other rod screamed into life once more, again though the new hook held firm and another 5 pounder landed on the mat. That though was the end of the action and I packed up at 11 as the pool had gone flat calm and the fish had stopped fizzing.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Estate lake bliss

 Most of my friends and followers know only too well how much of a dislike I have for holes in the ground stuff to the brim with fish. I much prefer old, mature natural waters over any carp puddle. Quality makes up for the lack of quantity on these places. Four fish today may seem like a bad day to most anglers but these fish are stunning, wild and showing their true colours. Not dulled in anyway by spending their lives in muddy murky water been over fed on commercial pellets, they fight like stink too. No doubt shocked by what is happening and the fact they are not heavily fished for.

 Then there is the scenery, not a paving flag or scaffolding pole in sight. Real natural banks unspoiled by man other than well worn patches of grass marking the best spots flanked by beds of reeds. The sun was just starting to rise as I was setting up this morning and over the next hour or so I was treated to a stunning display as the breeze blew the morning mist from the water and the sun started to break through. Then out of the mist came a train of swans, the parents proudly escorting their nine young around the lake. Once the mist cleared it was a lovely warm clear morning and the whole area was alive with nature.

 For one reason or another the fishing was slow going today, I had started by casting half a dozen feeders to my spots and then spodding some loose particles over the top. Hooks were baited with the ever faithful combo of real and fake maggots and both rods were out ready and waiting by not much after 4am. It was well after 7am when I received my first take, 3 fake casters D-rigged on a size 12 hook proved the down fall of the fish. A heavy slow fight commenced and it took me a while to gain any kind of advantage but soon enough a nice fat lady was posing in front of the camera, at 5lb 7.5oz she was far from the biggest in the lake but one of the most stunning I have had with not a mark on her.

 Just as I had slipped her back a mate of mine popped down to see how I was getting on, no sooner had he arrived than the same rod fished long was away again. This time a small male around 3lb was the culprit. The time flew by while we chatted and I added an average size bream in the process, this fish falling to maggots alongside a fake one rigged mag-aligner style. It was soon after 9 and my mate was just about to head home when the same rod roared off again, another slow plodding fight gave the game away from the off and bream number two hit the back of the net captured by my mates well timed camera shot!

 This one was much bigger than the first but wafer thin after spawning, I'm sure though that in a few weeks it will be well over the 6lb mark. Expecting more action I stayed on later than I often do here but no more bites were forth coming. The weather this spring has clearly had an effect on the fish as even the carp lads are not getting bothered by the tench and bream as much as the normally do.

 I have just one more session planned on here this year and feel sure that the fish will still be in a pre-spawning feeding mood and the chances of a fat female are high. Next week me and JD are having a day out on another stunning old natural water, but this one has not been fished for many many years and only recently opened back up to anglers. Tales of un-caught monsters and original fish stocks are sure to mean sleepless nights between now and next Sunday. But of course we are all waiting impatiently for the opening of the rivers. I don't like to gloat but I do have the first week of the season booked off work but wont be in a rush to hit the rivers hence my one last shot on the estate lake. My feeling is that with opening day been on a Sunday there will be so much bait chucked in it would be wiser to wait until later in the week.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Bit of a musicle tale

 With not a deal to tell today I thought id do something a little fun.

My local tench water is definitely one of these places.

And although not blowing like i would like it to have been it still looked good for a fish or three, but after 4 hours with not a touch or even the sight of any bream rolling I was starting to wander

With time to kill and not been in any rush to go home I decided to have a mooch around and see what was, or wasn't going on. All was revealed when I found huge shoals of bream tucked up in a quiet corner of the lake.

I have no doubt that the tench were also up there, feasting on fresh bream eggs. By the time I can get back to the lake which will be two weeks things should be back to normal. I cant wait as I know there's plenty of time before the rivers open................................

Friday, 10 May 2013

Plan B

 Wednesday morning saw me back on the tinca trail on my local water, arriving as normal before first light I settled into the swim I had been baiting now since the weekend. The night before I had been down and spodded another couple of pints of bait in to one spot and there were signs of fish around as I saw a couple of backs break the surface. The rods ready clipped up from Monday were cast into position and I sat back waiting for events to unfold.

 Again though the day dawned still, the sun strong and little in the way of any ripple on the surface. Soon enough though the alarmed rod on my heavily baited spot sprang to life and a fish was on, it was another spirited fight and I was unsure if it was the intended tench or a good bream. It turned out to be the latter and my best from this venue at 5lb 12oz.

 I was expecting more to follow but as had been the same on Monday with the lake flat most of the time and the temperature rising much higher than of recent the fish refused to bite.

 Today saw me back for one last bite of the cherry before its back to work next week. My spot had been primed every day now for a week, I arrived this morning just after 4am to find too bloody  carpers had set up in my chosen area and just cast their rods out. I've never felt the need to swear on my blog before but I was seriously pissed off!!! This left me with two options, head to the left where the now strong southerly was blowing or head right to a swim that involved wading out further and due to the lay of the land sitting on the edge of a large patch of that horrid black stinking silt stuff that was just covered with water.

 Now who in their right mind would chose the one on the right?

 I did! Based purely on the fact it has been producing a few fish this year but as it started to rain I was questioning my sanity. However my choice paid off and after only half an hour or so one of the rods was away, at first I thought it had come adrift then thought it was a small fish until it saw the net and me knee deep in stinking black silt. It was a tench, only a small one though around 21/2lb and it then decided to go nuts like those small splasher barbel do. It was a nice sight though to see that some young fish are coming through.

 Soon after the bream turned up and I had 3 fish between four and five pounds in the next 90 minutes or so and then lost another fish again. JD turned up to join me and after collecting some bait he headed to the swim to the left I decided against earlier in the day and I landed another good bream of just over 5lb and lost yet another. It had now turned 8am and what is traditionally on here the start of a quiet spell. At around 10am JD decided he had had enough of blanking and sitting in the full force of the wind and was off elsewhere, I did comment as he left that sometimes they come back on around 10 but he was off.

 As if by magic as soon as he was out of sight the alarm signalled a one toner, I picked up and bent into what felt a good fish. I had just started to gain some line when it set off again and snapped me clean off. Gutted, I wound in and sorted the rig and chucked back out. It had not been out there more than ten minutes when it was off again, bream number 5 soon hit the mat after another good scrap. These fish have obviously not read the rule book as they tend to pull back a bit, even with 1.75lb Tc rods and 8lb line.

 It was just after 11, all had gone quiet and I was thinking of calling it a day whilst chatting to a couple of officials from the club when one of the rods when into melt down again. This time though after leaning into the fish I slackened the clutch off a touch as for one reason or another I seem to be loosing a quarter of all the fish I'm hooking so far this year. This fish felt better and I knew from the off it was no bream, as the club officials looked on I waded out to meet the fish and let out a little cheer as another stunning looking tench hit the back of the net. I felt sure it would go 6 however it managed 5lb 8oz, still fresh from its winter slumber I guess. All of the fish today were again taken on feeder tactics using my CSK groundbait and a combination of real and fake maggots on the hook.

 It turns out the club were down to do some survey work with the EA to look at what can be done to tackle the weed and silt problems the lake suffers with, and as they were going to be working their way around the shallow water poking and prodding from a boat I called it a day.

Monday, 6 May 2013


 It would see we have skipped spring and jumped right from winter into summer in a little over a week, I bet the fish don't know what the hells happening. I know one thing though, it killed my tench and bream sport dead.

 Yesterday saw me heading to a local carp puddle, hole in the ground type thing. Now don't go thinking I'm loosing the plot as we all know how much I hate those kind of places but I actually enjoyed it, only because I had both kids in tow and took them for a few hours fishing. Kyle can pretty much look after himself now apart from removing the odd deep hooked fish so once I had him set up and fishing I sat on the floor with 4 meters of pole and entertained Lilly for a while. For a 3 year old she did well, or rather I did managing to keep her amused for near on 3 hours.

 Plenty of small perch and skimmers were landed between us, me and Lil managed a nice looking carp hybrid/brown goldfish type thing around a pound plus a couple of nice 10oz rudd. Kyle added a nice bream around 2lb as we were ready to pack up. It was warm, we caught fish and the kids enjoyed it and that's what it all about.

 My latest session started last night when I headed to my tench water armed with a bucket of spod mix and the rod. One chap was down for the evening and once he had me sussed out the info started to flow back and forth. He revealed something to me that I never imagined possible on that water and gives me something to definitely look at in the future should my current plan start to fall apart.

 With the bank holiday I expected it to be busy today so made sure I was first there to get the pick of the swims, my swim in fact I baited last night! It was 4.10am when I pulled through the gate this morning and as the light grew the lake looked truly stunning, one of those classic fully misted mornings it looked just like ghosts drifting over the glassy looking surface. Out when the rods and I sat back ready for the action to kick in.

 I waited, and waited, and waited. I knew early on it was never going to happen, there was not a cloud in the sky or a breath of wind. The water stayed like glass for most of the morning and temperature was rising as high as the sun. Around 9am and totally out of the blue one of the rods rattled off and I landed a bream around 4lb, afterwards much the same. Nothing. I have noticed before on here, hot, sunny windless days are the kiss of death. However, on a plus note my next trip is Wednesday when it looks like a nice low pressure front will be moving in.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Start as you mean to go on.

 What a difference a week makes eh? I even had my coat off today. I was up and out of the house at not much after 4am this morning and was pleased not to be met by a freezing blast for once. Arriving at the lake it was clear the fish felt the same today, for the first time this year(from what I have seen anyway) there were signs that the fish were around and feeding.

 As is quite common on here during the week I had the place to my self and headed straight to my first choice swim and with the rods clipped up ready to go it was just a matter of setting the alarms up, putting some bait on and away we go. Well that is exactly what happened too! With fish showing well out I cast my long range rig first. This was baited with 2 rubber casters and a real one glued to a short hair and arranged so as to look like a small pile of free offerings. Before I had even finished spodding bait out the alarm sounded into life and a nice 4lb bream hit the net.

 I finished the baiting up which consisted of 6 spods full of dead maggots, casters, hemp and corn over each line plugged with my new CSK ground bait I was testing. The feeders were filled with the same with a good sprinkle of the spod mix mixed in too. Once that was sorted I got both rods out and soon had another bream of around the same size. It then went a little quiet until around 7am when out of the blue one of the rods roared of and I knew this was no bream. I was correct and my first tench of the year graced my net.

 By now the wind had dropped, the lake was flat calm and the morning sun felt much warmer than it had all year, this did do as I expected though and no more bites were forth coming for well over an hour. At around 8.30am I had to put my coat back on as the wind had picked up and scattered clouds kept blocking the sun, this had an almost immediate effect on the fish as they suddenly went on the rampage. First up was another bream before the tench moved in, 2 landed over the next hour all between 4 and 5lb plus two unfortunate breaks and another bream.

 It was soon 10am and I had to start thinking about heading home as the other half was working and I had to take the little one to nursery. Out went both rods for the lucky last cast. First away was the far rod, the way it screamed off I was expecting another tench but the slow plodding nature gave the game away. It did give a good account of its self though and a solid 5lb bream wallowed into the net.

 Unbelievably I was still holding the fish in the water to recover when the other rod screamed off, this though was no bream and the fish took line on more than one occasion, once close in it made a couple of determined attempts at getting into the reeds but i was more than ready for it and it was soon laid on the mat. As with the bream, this one turned out to be the biggest tench of the day at a shade over 5lb. O how I wish I didn't have to head home. Luckily I have all next week off work and will be spending 3 days on here with some baiting up in between.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Spring is erm................ starting to spring

 Well, that's been a long old drawn out winter. Since the rivers shut I have briefly wet a line on just one occasion and for just a few hours, although I have been busy with other fishy things and I am now pleased to announce that as of last week I am now trading as DAB Angling.

 This is only intended to be a small operation which I hope will bring in a bit of extra pocket money. As a lot of you know I make heavy duty feeders up to 6 ounce and I'm currently working on a small selection of species specific baits(barbel and tench for now) which should be on general sale by early next year once they have undergone lots more testing. We will have to see how things go but so long as I keep covering my costs there's plenty of scope to extend both the feeder and bait range.

 So, back to the fishing.
I arrived at my local tench water before 5am this morning, the reason for the early start is that it has all of a sudden become popular with the carp lads despite it been well known as a rock hard water and holding less that 20 original carp in 26 acres of water. Luckily I was first there and so dropped into one of my favoured swims.

 Even though it was a southerly wind it was blooming cold and the temp gauge on the car had been reading just 3 degree, with this in mind I held back on the bait and stuck to only feeding what my swim feeders could carry. I didn't even bother to have a few quick chucks at the start. The fish on this lake do like to give them self's away with the bream rolling and tench fizzing but all I saw all day was one smallish bream roll well out in the middle.

 At around 10.30am one of the alarms sounded and I picked up what was a rather subdued stop start take, the welcome culprit was a nice bream around 4lb. I had another take later when the bobbin juddered upwards before dropping to the floor like a brick and I connected with thin air although it's quite possible it could have been a liner and the fish had picked up the line with its fins. That was it for the day and I left a couple of other tench/bream anglers blanking around 1pm.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Ready to spring into action

 There was a definite warmth in the sun today that's not been felt for quite some time, and although I didn't expect much, if any action it was a glorious morning to be by the water at dawn even after I scraped the ice and over night sprinkling of snow off the car.

 I arrived at my target tench water for the coming months as the sun started to poke it's head up this morning with the intention of getting everything ready for the forth coming warm weather. Dawn is the best time to find the fish on here as they duly give them self's away with streams of bubbles, even with the cold there were a few, not many but the very odd small scattered patch of bubbles right where I expected the fish to be. However fishing was to come second today as I wanted to make good use of the quiet time by putting the marker float to good use.

 I had a quick walk around the lake a couple of weeks back and found the deeper areas in what is a rather shallow, very silty water. Now I knew where they were I wanted to make the most of them. I dropped into the first swim and thrashed the water until I was happy I had found a spot that I hoped the fish would like. I then got the rods out and cast my rigs to the marked spots and made notes of what to aim at on the far bank. They were then clipped up and marker knots tied on with light pole elastic. Numerous casts were made to the marker until I was 100% happy that the rigs would be bang on the money.

 Next up was the job of clipping up the spod rod, again I made plenty of casts Until I was happy that this was also spot on. The only draw back with this was that the small light weight spod falls a bit short of my furthest target when empty and the only thing to do was to put some bait in as it has holes top to bottom and with not having any kind of tape with me I couldn't fill it with water. Once happy that everything was spot on I moved onto the next swim that I fancy.

 To make things easier for me should I not be able to get in my first choice swim I intend to fish the same distance from which ever one I fish meaning I can leave all the rods clipped up and ready to on every trip. As look would have it one spot I have picked (that I fished a lot last season) falls half way between two swims meaning, subject to a friendly word and an OK from who ever jumps in my swim before me I should be able to fish the same spot from two swims. Another stroke of look is that the feature I'm fishing to is a long deeper channel that runs along 3 or 4 swims and once I had a good chuck about with the marker again I found that my clipped up rods could be fished on good areas in all of them.

 It was well after 9am by the time I got a bait in the water and as I wasn't expecting a great deal even before I had spent 2 hours chucking leads and rigs about I set about doing a bit of testing. Last year I fished the water with one standard heavy feeder rod outfit and a sleeper rod on an alarm. Looking back I don't think this was the best approach and with the size and power of the tench in there I have decided this year to fish both rods on alarms. I tried a couple of new rigs out to see how they cast and also to make sure they didn't tangle and I must say the Korum Helli rig kits work a treat.

 I have a lot of faith in imitation, fake, rubber call them what you like baits but really only used them along side naturals. This year I will be going a step further and using them exclusively on one rod at all times so, I tested a few of these out in the margins too. Corn stacks, mag aligners and my personal favourite so far, D-rigged fake casters. 3 of these tied to 8lb fluro carbon and a size 10 hook just look awesome fluttering down on to the lake bed ready to be hoovered up. And as some of you know, last year I started working on my own baits. Firstly came the ground bait that was responsible for double figure PB carp and barbel, now I have started to play around with one for the tench and today gave me the first opportunity to try it out.

 As expected I didn't catch but it was a rewarding day all the same, the sun felt great for once when the wind dropped. The water fowl were busy collecting material to build nests with and I just got a feeling that any time soon everything will just wake up and go mental trying to make up for lost time and I can't wait.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Fish at last

 It's been quite a slog this winter and although not exactly a red letter one I had a half decent day on the calder today with my mate JD and we both put a few fish on the bank.

I arrived this morning to find JD walking to the bottom of the length so I dropped into a swim about half way, dumped the gear and wandered down to see him. He told me he had just spent half an hour in said swim with nothing to show. We chatted for a while and it wasn't long before his first chub of the day was in the net, I quickly hurried back to my gear and chose another swim a little further down. With the rods already made up I was fishing in no time and sat back to see JD landing another.

 Now expecting good things I was left feeling rather cold and puzzled after a couple of hours or so with nothing to show for my efforts. JD had had another and was getting a few bites and Rich had come down to see how we were getting on so I upped sticks and moved down near them. First chuck with a piece of steak on the hook and the tip twitched a couple of times before slamming down and a nice 4lb chub soon lay in my net. Next chuck and away it went again, this time we were all surprised to see a nice looking brown trout of around a pound, also falling to the steak.

 Rich left us soon after and it seems he had taken the fish with him as it went very quiet with just the odd tentative twitch so JD decided to move up stream to one of his favourite banker swims while I stuck it out a little longer. His moved paid off as he was soon into another good chub. I quickly followed suit and dropped into the swim above where I had started. I didn't have to wait long before the tip flew round again and another 4lb chub graced my net.

(must remember to remove the polaroids next time)

 I had another cast in this swim before working my way down stream. I dropped into a couple of swims with nothing to show before reaching the bottom end and the swim we had fished this morning, however I only managed two missed chances on cheese paste. I could see JD into another fish so I headed back up there but that one turned out to be another trout, oddly taken on cheese paste! These calder trout have obviously not read the rule book. I settled into my swim but all seemed quiet until JD shouted he was into a good fish. It was putting up a good battle and as it had taken the paste again we were expecting a good chub only for it to turn out to be another trout, this time around 2lb although it was a stunning looking fish with very large, dark distinctive spots and a pale, almost rainbow trout like body.

 All stayed quiet after this and with a drop in air temperature we called it a day. As we walked back to the car I commented on how much of the river bed we could see with it been so low and clear. We left the gear in the cars and went for an explore. This turned out to be a good idea as it painted a very different picture to the river bed than we had imagined, we also discovered a couple of very nice looking spots that just must hold barbel in the warmer months. Roll on those I say.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Is it spring yet?

 The way this winters form has been going I'll be glad when it starts to warm up as there has been a distinct lack of fish recently and today was no different, although on a lighter note it was rather enjoyable. Since having a first proper go at lure fishing last year I had kept telling my self I should buy the necessary gear and do some more. A couple of weeks back I was offered a suitable rod along with a box of bits and bobs plus some lures, the money exchanged hands and today saw me on the bank with it for the first time accompanied by JD.

  We decided to work our way along a local canal that runs almost parallel to the river Calder, then work our way back down the river. We covered a good couple of miles stopping off at likely looking spots along the way, swapping and changing between lures. Diving plugs, rubber shad types, micro rubber lures, we tried the lot but despite our best efforts we failed to even entice so much as a touch between us.

 It wasn't a bad day to be out and about though, especially when out of the wind. It was enjoyable doing something new for once too and its certainly not put me off but perhaps I might be best waiting till it warms up and the fish are more willing to chase bits of odd looking rubber. We did however discover a few new cracking looking spots on the river as we were wandering along a stretch neither of us had been on before.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

First PB of the year

 With a light dusting of snow this morning and the Colne at normal level for once the day was set for some nice grayling sport. Things soon took a downer though when I realised I had left home without my waders. With JD on the map and me driving we set off in search of some new spots to fish only to find I was stuffed without my boots. We drove around for a while before settling on a stretch of the lower river we tried to fish last time and got caught out by rising snow melt.

 I made a slight miss judgement when tackling up and soon found the water in the pool too deep for my grayling bobber float, and a little too slow for the pin and the faster water just too far out of easy casting range. Off it all came and on went a 3 gram Avon float coupled with a closed face reel, third or fourth trot and the float sailed away. Not the intended grayling but a nice brown trout well over a pound, I slipped it back before realising what I had done. Having not fished many upland rivers that fish would have been almost double my PB and I was slightly gutted that, even though not huge I had popped it back without so much as a trophy shot.

 We made our way upstream dropping into a few pools on the way and soon realised the fish were playing hard to get. JD was well ahead of me by now and by the time I caught up with him he was fishing a large, slow deep bend in the river. I remembered from our last trip here that just above this there is a nice deep but not too slow run along the far bank so I headed for there. I got the depth sorted and decided on a spot of tea whilst I fed some maggots. Just as I started to fish JD arrived still fish less and decided to watch me trot along the far bank. Whilst I don't see my self as some kind of expert I gave JD a few pointers on trotting as he admits him self that he is a complete novice at it. I think he was impressed with my skills as I worked the float along the far bank anyway.

 Right on cue mid sentence the float dipped under and I struck into something solid, I though it was the bottom at first as it just held solid before starting to move slowly upstream. It was clearly a good fish and went on a few slow powerful runs, I got it close in and was still no wiser to what I was attached to. It wasn't until it finally rolled in the net that I realised it was the biggest wild trout I had ever seen. Out of season I know but I was well happy with this beast, on the scales it went 3lb 2oz.

 I hooked another, smaller fish soon after that shed the hook whilst doing airborne acrobatics. This must have spooked any remaining fish in the swim as it went stone dead, with JD still fish less we decided on a move to the Calder for the afternoon just a short distance away where another friend of ours was already fishing.

 We arrived to find Rich sat feeder fishing bread for the chub only for him to tell us he had not landed a fish but missed loads of bites, at least they were feeding. JD got into one of his known chub swims a little upstream and I decided to trot between them. I had no choice anyway as I had only brought float gear with me. After JD's cracking session yesterday when he landed 9 good chub in just a few hours on a different stretch he drew a big fat blank today, I didn't fair much better and just couldn't get it together this afternoon. Snagged hooks, tangled rigs and an awkward flow saw me packing up after not too long, Rich on the other hand showed us how to do it finally landing 5 good chub to just over 4lb.