Monday 4 June 2018

New Target

So it has been like for ever since I posted anything up on the blog, well sometime absence makes the heart grow fonder.

To be honest the fishing and the writing had become a tad boring and whilst I enjoyed being out, the lack of catching bar stunted fish was again getting boring. So I stopped, regrouped and went tench fishing for the last 2 months. But alas, this has to be the worst tench season I have ever had, so again I stopped and regrouped.

I couldn't decided what to do or where to go, so I looked back at last summer to look for inspiration to the lack of mojo. It was last September when after much deliberation that I was encouraged to go rudd fishing a few times and I kinda enjoyed it.

Whilst never specifically targeting them I had caught my far share of rudd to half a pound, but I never found that as a species that they grow to a size locally that could mean they were worth targeting as species. This was all to change after chatting to my good pal John W who is an out and out specimen hunter, but you'll never heard him call himself that. John is a man in the know, on the grape vine, in the inner circle of anglers who get put onto other species but other anglers in the know.
So when he put me onto a water that had down rudd to 3lb+ I had to have a go. Well last summer I caught a few to a 1lb 8oz within a few sessions, then the autumn came and toothy species then came back onto my radar so the rudd go put on the back burner.

Well with the tench fishing being a trifle pants and me being me and needing a new challenge, I decided that I ditch the tench fishing and target some rudd. So early on Saturday I drove for a hour and a bit to a lovely gravel pit where the rudd grow quite big.
On arrival there was a few cars parked up. Most of these are likely to be carp anglers as this water has a decent head of carp to 30lb+ plus some good silver fish numbers. I wasn't worried by the number of cars and I knew that the carp anglers would be in there favourite carpy swims, which would leave the rudd swim alone. Upon arriving on the bank I was right, the carpy swims were indeed taken and the rudd swims were vacant bar one.

I set up in the best swim and soon have the baits out by the lillies. After much deliberation the night before, I gone set up with running rigs rather than bolt rigs to see if this made much of a difference to the  finicky bite rudd can give. Baits were simple 10mm boillies on one rod and 2 grains of corn on the other.

With the baits in position and a few freebies scatter over the top, it was time to get the stove on for a morning brew.

The morning was warm and muggy, just they type of morning were you could expect some thunder and lightening, but the only rumbling was the sound of the mosquitos that were buzzing about my head. Every so often, one of these blood suckers would land on my neck or hand to see if they could get a free meal.

With the tea warming me, the sounder box bleeped and the bobbins jangled whilst being pulled to the rod. Upon setting the hook and fish could be felt at the other end. It was soon netted and a nice pound plus rudd to boot.

This was soon unhooked and returned.

The early morning rushed by and the rudd seemed to be on the feed, but not enough to trouble the angler to much. The bobbins would jangle, jump, pull and drop but this was most likely small fish trying to take the large baits.

The clock turned 9am and the rain started as I feared it would, so the brolly went up and this seem to make the mugginess even closer.

The rain didn't last long and as the last few drops feel the sounder box was bleeping again. Something was snaffling the corn. The bobbin did it usual dancing and then steadily rose to the rod. Upon setting the hook this felt a better fish and soon a nice 2lb+ rudd was in the folds of the net. What struck me was that this fish was a lot fatter than the other rudd I had previously caught from here and it felt like a monster fish.

I rest the fish in the net and went for the weigh sling and scales from the rucksack, but there was a issue. No scales! I searched the sac and found nothing so they had either been left behind at home or lost on the bank when I was last out roach fishing last autumn. I quickly nipped to see another angler and borrowed a set of scales, but I must admit to being abit weary of there ability to give me the right weight. They final weight was set as 2lb 6oz, but the rudd looked a lot bigger than a near 2.1/2lber. Anyway, it was a new pb and a first 2lb+ rudd for me, so the bar has been set for the coming summer.
The 2lb+ rudd was soon returned and I wish now that I had bothered to get a better snap of it with me, but with all the toing and froing with the scales I kind of wanted to get her back.

The bait was replaced back out and soon another fish was hooked, this was a small skimmer. This was followed less that 10 minutes later with a bigger slab of the 5lb mark. Good fun on light tackle, but they do mess up the braided hooklinks with the slime.

11:00 came and went and the day got hotter and brighter, this killed the rudd fishing and everything else. It wasn't until near on 16:00 that the bites started again, but this was getting late in the day and was time for me to venture back home.

But there is always next week....

Thursday 4 January 2018

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Well its time for a round up of last year and it was eventful for the first 6 months of the year then it all sort of went down hill.

I decided early on to only target a few species rather than chase around. I did managed to caught some nice specimens from different venues, some new, some old, but all had stories attached to them.

Specimen list 2017

Pike 24lb 2oz
Rudd 1lb 8oz
Tench 8lb 6oz

Whilst I may have only targeted a few species, it didn't stop my have loads of other session on various rivers and stillwater too.

Other eventful moments during the year have been helping with the creation of the Crucian Chronicles which is the Association of  Crucian Anglers first publication, coaching a junior piker to his first 20lb+ pike and taking my nephew out fishing again.

So not a back year all in all and I hope that 2018 will be equally enjoyable and I'll be back out after the tench and the rudd during the spring/summer with some additional trips for crucian's too.

Thursday 2 November 2017

Pike are Predators Busted!

If you have the time, watch this great video produced by pikers in Ireland. IFI are continuing to cull large numbers of pike on the back of game anglers hysterical crying that the "wild" brown trout are on the point of extinction due to the presence of pike in the loughs and lakes.

Reality check, pike are predators and if you stop messing around with the predator prey ration and starting creating habitat for trout to spawn, feed and have refugee from predators, then they will thrive in a balanced fishery rather than a over stocked stock pond.

Thursday 19 October 2017


So I haven't posted since July and it not because I haven't been fishing. In fact I been out on a variety of still and running waters over the summer, learnt a lot, caught a few fish and really enjoyed trying different things.

One of the new water is a stunning venue which can only be describe and unique. It is a mixture of a broad, a river and a still water all rolled into one. Its not only the place that is stunning the wildlife is to and you also have the chance of caught a lump.

I had a midweek piking session on my mind, so at rather short notice I picked a day and booked it off.

At dawn, I slipped the rope from the mooring and started to row to the first swim of the day. It was a breezy day which put a nice ripple on the water. The temperature was warm for October, but not warm enough to dispense with the fleece.

After a good row, I was soon in the first swim of the day and sent a herring to the reed line on one rod and drifted a sardine down the wind lane.

With the baits out, it was time to put the kettle on for the first brew of the day. like clock work, this task set in the wheels in motion for a run on the reed line rod and a lively double figure pike was on the net.

The herring was still attached and as it was pretty good, so it was sent back out to the same spot whilst I drank my brew.

With the downing of the last drops from the mug, the herring was away again and after a spirited fight a second low double was netted. All before breakfast too.

Could I manage a third from the spot, turns out that it didn't and a move was in order.

The second spot of the day was a along a stretch and featureless looking stretch, but in fact it does have a number of features to fish to including a side stream that come in. The vane drift was sent out first and the float was then positioned at the mouth of the side stream inlet.

As the float settles, I noticed a elusive visitor to my right, a Bittern had landed in the reeds and was doing a dam good impression of being a reed. Its not every day that you get close to these birds and normally you just hear their booming call or spook then when settling into the reeds.
The Bittern sat in the reeds for a long time and it allowed me to get a few shots on the camera

This was the last moment of serenity of the day. Whilst enjoying the sight of the bittern, the vane drift slid under. Only issue was that the other float with the sardine attached was also sliding under at the same time. I connected with the running fish on the vane drift and once the hooks were set, I set about the other rod and set the hooks on this one too. Feeling this one was small, I put the bait runner on and went back to the first fish. First number one was soon by the boat being unhooked and release, so I turned my attention to the second smaller fish which was soon subdued and unhooked in the water again. Turned out they were both low doubles.

Time for tea, so with the stove on, it was time to rebait both rods and get them back out again.
The float next to the reeds dropped on the money and the vane drift was sent on its way and was soon drifting nicely.
The kettle boiled and steam pouring out and as I started to tip the water into the cup, I noticed that the float next to the reeds was coming towards me, then the pain hit me as the boiling water poured on to my hand.

The scolded hand was plunged into the cool water and the rod grabbed with the other hand. With the pain easing I then set about landing the pike that had interrupted the tea break. I wound down connected with a tail walking pike and it went airborne before splashing down, it was then that I noticed the bait runner on the vane drift starting to chug away. Oh feck, another double hook up!

I flicked the bait runner level and grabbed the rod, and set the hooks on the running fish. they felt about the same in weight, so I played the first pike in to the boat, quickly unhooked it at the edge and let her go, before sorting out the other rod.
the second fish came in like a bag of spuds and was soon at the boat, unhooked and gone back to the depths.

Finally, I managed to sit down, re boil the kettle and try to cool the throbbing hand. It was badly scolded and very saw, but not enough to stop the fishing. After some tea and lunch, I upped anchor and moved to another spot.

I dropped anchor in a new spot and decided to fish both rods close to the read line but at different distances from the boat. I still had a few sardines in the box, but the herring was gone, so this was replaced with a large smelt.

The sardine was away again within minutes of the float settle and another low double was netted and returned, but as she swam off the other float went under and before long a better pike was by the boat.

Now I not one for netting all the pike and taking a picture adds undue stress on the fish. If I can, I bring them to the boat and unhook them in the water. Using double hooks makes it a simpler job and most time it is only the head of the pike that pops above the surface. Far to many times anglers bring small pike on board their boats to thrash about and injury themselves.

Back off the soap box. With both bait rods in I decided to have a cast about with a lure. Surprisingly it took a long time to snare a pike and in fact it was the smallest of the day at a couple of pounds in weight.

I got tired of thrashing the water with lures and the hand was hurting too, so back out with the baits.

No instance action this time and it was a further hour before another pike took a liking to the smelt on the drifted bait. Again a low double, but this had one came to the boat before shedding the hooks at the edge. Well it saved me unhooking it. With the sport dying down, I decided to head back to the mooring. I did stop off at the first swim of the day and winkled out another couple of small fish and I think in total it was 11 fish in five hours.

It was a decent start to the season and allowed be to get know the water that little bit more.

Thursday 20 July 2017

Feeder Improvements

I'm all for making life easier and buying bits and bobs off the shelf is of course the easiest option. However, when the tackle firm balls up and change something for no reason, then I feel that I have to do something about it.

The feeders are of course functional as they are, but I find the plastic loop on some feeder a pain in the arse, so rather than chucking them, they get modified.

Now there is a few ways to do this and the very simplist option would be to buy some nitrate O'rings and replace the plastic with one of them. The O rings are tough as hell and usually results in you not only loosing the feeder but also the rig. So I have found that if you construct a loop using power gum you get the feeder back or the power gum knot pulls free under moderate tension, thus getting at least the rig back.

Tuesday 18 July 2017

Net Full

Its always a good thing to keep on learning at any age or at any level angling experience and with river fishing I constantly learning all the time from a good friend whom is a very good river angler.

So when the weekend came and I had the chance to put some of learning points gleaned into affect on my second trip to the river of the season. Whilst I have fished this river a bit on an off I have always felt like I'm not fishing it effectively and have not capitalised when I've found the fish.

So with the car loaded I head up for a good hours drive to the river. I wanted to fish the opposite bank to last week, but after an hour walking the bank, I admitted defeat with 8ft of marginal reed hampering my efforts. Whilst I did have some tools that would help create a swim, I did have the tool that I needed aka a throw able reed cutter. So it was back to the layby swim for me because time was getting on.

The ground bait bucket was out and after consulting the book I mixed up a couple of kilo's of crumb and black Supercup laced with hemp, maggot, crushed caster and some pellets. Rather than balling out a load at the started, I put in five balls to get the fish going, the rest would go in via the feeders.

Next on the list was the rods, gone was the still water tip rod and out was the Avon rods with a 2oz tip. Both coupled with 400 reels and 6lb mainline. Rig wise it was to be a paternoster and a semi running rig nicked from a Nisa video on river feeder rigs.  In essence this was a sliding float stop, followed by a link swivel, I then formed a loop to connect the hook link to. Two size 6 shot was placed just above the loop knot to form stop and help pin the mainline to the bed of the river. A 14" hook link of 3lb material was added This rig can be used as either a bolt or running rig so is quite adaptable depending on the fish being finicky or not.

The big changes were the change of hook thickness and rod positioning. I opted for a thin gauge long shank 16's and 18's for the maggot/caster of The rods were how vertical beach caster style with the tips slightly under tension to form a shallow curve so that both pulls, taps and drop back would be shown.

I was all set up, feeders clipped on, hooks baited and out they went. The right hand rod had the big baits on, a corn and caster cocktail, the left hand rod had the standard double reds. I didn't have to wait to long for bites to start and soon a small roach was netted with after a confident bite on the tip which was easy to see. The small roach was soon followed by further roach and small perch too and bite continued nice a steady during the first 2 hours. A couple of 4lb bream took the corn/caster cocktail and I soon had 10lb weight of fish in the net. I took a break for a brew and head back to the rods, with a streaming mug of tea. The rod ere recast and action was resumed for another hour or so whereby a ten skimmers came along in quick succession. This was shaping up to be a good morning.

The action then slowed and I decided to mix up the hook bait, a small worm was hooked onto the left hand rod tipped of with a red and the bites started again. The big bait rod was slowing up, so this two was changed. This time it was double corn soaked in molasses and this started a run of a better stamp of bream self hooking them self which resulted in the rod being lifted off the back rest.
This problem was quickly solved with the baitrunner being engage to allow a hooked fish to run if hooked.

Morning was soon midday and I must have had near 20lb of fish in the net. Lunch was soon consumed with anther mug of tea and then back to the action. A large worm replaced the double corn and I continued with the worm/red cocktail on the other rod.
Now eels arnt my thing really and on light tackle they are a pain in the area, so imagine my job as the nodding tip was a sure sign one had been hooked. As it came in it dive and ducked, spun and coiled before I managed to get it to the edge unhook without it leaving the water. There was simply no way this snake was going to get its slime on the keepnet.
As soon as the small eel was away, I just had time to look up and see the big bait run being pulled off of the rests either with the baitrunner going. I clamped down and it was quickly apparent that another bigger, stronger eel had taken the lobworm. It completely flat rodded me and it took and age to get it under control and nearing the me, but every time I thought I had it beat it was off again. I was not looking forward to wrestling with this water snake and I was quite thankful then the critter finally bit through the light line in the margins. The rig was in a mess, so it had to be re rigged, but no further worms would be going on the hook.

The afternoon pushed on and further bream graced the
 net and added to the total. The rain started as a drizzle and this didn't put the fish off and for a further hour I had another 10lb of fish ranging from small skimmer to a couple of 4lb bream.

On the horizon the rain clouds gather and with the wind continuing to blow into my bank I decided enough was enough and this along with running very low on ground bait made my decision for me.

On loading the last bits on the gear into the car the heavens opened and it lashed the car as I drove off of the bank and onto the road.

The final net weight was near 30lb of roach, skimmer, perch and bream plus a slippery eel which didn't get into the net. This has to be my most successful day on any UK river with regard to overall weight and the constant action on the tip rods was a welcome change to sitting behind a bank of rods on alarms.

Thursday 13 July 2017

Back to the River

Well the tench fishing has been very slow due to the exceptionally high temperatures over the last month, which has prompted huge weed growth in the lake. So a change to the rivers was in order to feed the fix, but there was a real issue, I'm the worlds worst river angler.

I started with a short morning session on my local river, but bar the first two bites resulting in a single roach and perch, the rest of the morning was as dull as dishwater.

So Sunday came and a early morning run over to the Ouse was in order to try to tempt some river monsters. I decided that I wanted to fish either the tip or the float so one of each was packed into the car. I arrived nice and early and set my stall out on a car park swim and soon had the gear up packed, the ground bait mixed and the tea brewed.

Whilst most experienced river anglers will have there various different setup for river feeder rigs, my is a simple paternoster feeder rig utilising 6lb mainline, 2 or 3lb 2-4ft hooklinks and think gauge size 14 to 18 hooks. the feeders are either Kamasan Black Caps or their open feeders. One thing I do change on their feeder is the plastic attachment. I hate it and I open up the lead and insert my open elastic loops made from power gum.

It took a good hour before the fish bite was registered on the tip rod and I hooked small roach to get me off the mark, this was soon followed by a small perch.

Now normally, I have fished the tip horizontally along the bank, but off the ground so that the tip points to the sky. To date it has always worked and I've not had a issue with hitting bites, but for some reason I started to miss quite a few bites. In fact, out of 20-30 decent bites from 8am to 11am I landed only 3 fish! So I consulted a very good friend who is a very good river angler and after a bit of messaging I changed the position of the tip so it was pointing out in front of me and at a higher angle like you would if beach fishing. This small change resulted in two things a) I could actually see the bite better, and b) I could connect to the bite.

Soon I had a further four roach into the net and my confidence started to grow a bit.

A quick lunch was had and the feeder went back out, this resulted in a couple of skimmers and a better single bream pulling the tip over. I must admit to be quite amazed that this change to the tip position actually made such a big difference to connecting with the bites. I did look to also fish the slider, but I realised that I had packed the wrong rod and reel, so that idea was soon quashed.

Soon it was time to call it a day and the net came in and a small mixed bag of around 10lb of roach, rudd, perch, skimmer and bream was returned to the river.

So this has wet the appetite for more river action, so I hope to get back to the Ouse with two tip rods and this time the slider rod.