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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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.