Saturday 19 December 2009

Tales from the Freezer !

I had planned to go Perch / Grayling fishing on the Dove and despite the recent snowstorms hitting the country I headed out anyway in the sub zero temperatures. I had planned to arrive just before light, which is about 7:30am at the moment, but due to the icy conditions on the roads it was nearly 8 before I had parked and walked to the chosen stretch. Negotiating the ruts and cows hoof holes on the solid frozen ground reminded me of hopping over slippery rocks when rock pooling in the summer.

The depth changes frequently along the margin

The plan was to fish for Perch for the first hour or so, and then trot a float for Grayling until lunchtime. I set up both rods and began the session fishing a new softbait shad I had just bought.

Thursday 17 December 2009

Blythe Spirits....

A menacing enigma has been eating into the fish stocks on the River Blythe near Coleshill this week.  The photo below was taken by a mate on the 15th Dec on a stretch  "above Coleshill ".

Approx 10lb (ottered) common

I've not fished there since late season 2007-08 but was planning to  return to this lovely stretch very soon. It's a small river with stocks of Barbel, Chub, Pike and Perch etc, and I'm sure anyone who has ever fished this river will be concerned for the welfare of these fish now !

Lets hope they have as much success as I normally do on there, give up and swiftly move on before the water is devastated - if only they ate the crayfish !!!

Sunday 13 December 2009

Catching Jack ...

The gloom of first light on the canal

I set the alarm for about 6 ish, and sneaked quietly out of my pit to go for a couple of hours lure fishing on the canal this morning; leaving the family happily dreaming away in bed. Arriving before first light about 7:00am, I started off fishing with my new thunderstick fire perch pattern crank-bait plug; eventually swapping over to a jigged softbait shad in a similar pattern (perch) after about half an hour's in-action.

I've never really done much too lure fishing in the past so I'm on quite a steep learning curve at the moment, and I consider any capture to be a significant breakthrough still. It tells me that my technique and watercraft is on the right track at least.  I've only ever caught two species on lure in my life, one being the obligatory Jack Pike and the other a small Bass.

My lures for the session

After moving further down the canal to where it widened out by a private mooring, I proceeded to catch a small Jack of about 4lb on my first cast there, which I think is my first Pike to a jigged softbait lure.
The 4lb Jack caught on a perch pattern jigged softbait

I read an article in the AT while standing in Tesco's the other day (well its not worth buying it anymore is it!)  by a young kid who fishes practically no other method, and his results seemed very good so I decided to give them a fair try this morning.

A December morning on the canal

Of course once the Pike was landed I stuck with this jig pattern and proceeded to catch nothing else on it all session ! On the plus side my "jigging" confidence has improved at least, so much so I may have another go at it later in the week and see if I can tempt one of the elusive Zander that are avoiding all I throw at them for the moment ? Surely they must still feed in a water temperature of 6 c (positively mild for this time of year ?)

To sum up the session not much to report but at least I avoided a blank for a change! and "got my arm in" working the jig method. I did spot a Jay land in tree behind me which was good to see,  no more Muntjac this week though !

Friday 4 December 2009

Autumn Zander pt 2

Thur 3rd Dec

At 3:30 pm after an unsuccsesful day trying to finish my surveying assignment for my Uni course the wife suggested I go fishing, not one to pass up an oppurtunity I was walking up the Cov canal tow path by 4:00pm.

I fished an old clay pit near the canal first to try for some live baits (namely small Rudd) but couldn't temp any fish despite them topping all around the lake. Soon after as the light failed and I struggled to see the pole float's tip any longer, I gave up and went back up the track to the canal again and started fishing for Zander in earnest.
It was fully dark by the time both rods were in. The water temp was hovering around 5.5 to 6 C and this may have put the fish down a bit as there was no sign of fish topping or moving anywhere. I tried three or four different areas including the nearby marina but never had a touch all session. By 7:30pm I'd had enough and tea was calling me, so I packed up and went home empty handed again. I think I might try for Perch or Roach next if the weather stays this cold. Of course depending on the river levels Grayling might also feature in my targets again with the weather getting into full winter mode now.

This blog is two years old this week and there have been a few decent fish and PB 's reported during that time, hopefully I can improve on these results and maybe add new species to the list in the coming months .. fingers crossed.

Monday 30 November 2009

Late Autumn Zander Campaign begins

Sun 29 Nov 2009

I fished the Coventry Canal, starting my Autumn/Winter Zander campaign after this facinating fish. I arrived at the canal in darkness just before 7:00am, the weather was cold and damp after rain and soon after arriving I was treated to a heavy downpour for half and hour during dawn, the sun came out for the rest of the session.

I found a swim with a tree opposite and cast out both rods near to its branches on free running rigs to 3oz leads.

 The reasoning behind the heavy leads is that the will allow the line to pull through the run ring easier than with a light lead which will just move with the line and may be detected by the fish. I not sure yet which tactic is better but I will experiment with both theories over the campaign and make my own mind up.

I won't bore you with all the details of the session but suffice to say I ended with another blank and had only one incident where the bait appeared to be attacked as I wound in to recast. I felt the fish powerfully grab the bait and move off with it to my right, but the hooks never managed to take hold and the fish came off. I'm not sure but it may have been a Pike lying in the boat channel, roused by a  bait passing over it's head ? either that or it was lying up ready to strike near my bait on the far shelf, as there were no indications on the tip prior to this.

That was my only chance of a fish all session. I think the sudden drop in temperature down to 6.5C over the previous day or so may have put the fish off the feed generally ?  I leapfrogged the rods along a 1/2 mile  stretch of canal  passing some known fish holding spots but to no avail.

I will be back again for an evening session this coming week to try again. My shorterm target is to get a fish of 5lb or more. There are bigger fish in this canal but I think it's down to a numbers game. At the moment I just need to achive a consistant catch rate before I worry about the bigger fish too much.

Late morning I spotted a Muntjac Deer walking across a horse paddock on the opposite bank, It steadily strided across from my right field of vision to left and into a copse of trees promtly dissapearing from view like a ghost. It alway makes you feel privaliged to see something like that and makes getting up early and being out in the countryside all the more worthwhile I think.

Thursday 26 November 2009

Zander or Barbel ?

Tue 24th Nov

After debating whether to fish for either Zander on the T&M Canal or Barbel on the Trent or Dove. In the end I decided on the Trent which looked in good form with some mouthwatering slacks. Considering the ideal conditions we've been having over the last week (mild temps, rain and flood water) I thought that I would regret not giving it a try. 

Saturday 21 November 2009

Nov Sessions

I've not kept the blog up to date much lately, mainly because of a lack of anything to report, so when I have a lull like this I will just summarise the month.

11/11/09 River Dove.
I caught a small Chub on the barbel rod and a decent Dace on the float rod trotting maggots down a nice run. I thought it might be my first Grayling as it fought quite

Friday 20 November 2009


Round up of the months sessions

07/10/09 Fished the Carp pool again but this time the target was Perch managed to get a live bait but despite trying many different swims round the north east side of the lake I blanked.

11/10/09 Fished the morning on the Dove at Marston but blanked yet again, tried a maggot rig then later pellet when my frustration got the better of me.

29/10/09 Final session of the month was on the Dove and again was consistant with current trends i.e. I blanked yet again , I've probably got more chance of catching a mahseer !

Monday 5 October 2009

Pool fishing for a change...

Sat 3rd Oct 2009

After arriving on the venue about 7:30 am, I wondered around the pool to choose my peg first. I started off fishing small luncheon meat cubes and hookable pellet to try and tempt the wild carp that are in this water but to be honest I couldn't be bothered trying too hard. After a few hours with just a small roach caught on a bunch of maggots to show for my efforts, I decided to try the pole and catch some bits. After catching a few nice 'deadbait' sized Roach I packed up at around noon.

About half way through the session I'd noticed a 5" roach dive out the water while being pursued by an unseen predator, which got my wondering about the Perch potential in the water. On the way back to the car I chatted a match angler about the perch in the water and he said there were some decent fish in here, what he means by decent is anybodies guess but it's enough to go on I think. Plus I know where they can be located in winter so it should be easy to find out. Livies should not be a problem to catch here either.

Saturday 26 September 2009

At least I know they work....

Friday 25th September 2009

I decided to have a go at making my own boilies from scratch and after doing some research on the net I came up with a recipe for some Tuna cat biscuit with halibut and betaine boilies or CTHB for short. I made the base mix using semolina and soya flour. I also went on to make a second batch but added some anchovy essence (naming them CTHB Anchovy).

My CTHB Boilies fresh off the production line

Rolled into different shapes .....for an extra edge ?

Although I have added a few different flavours to the recipe I hope that it will still work well to draw fish to the boilies by combining together to create an attractive fishy flavour/smell.

I arrived at the Trent just as it was getting dark and found it lower than I have ever seen it before. I soon had both rods out with one of each type of boilie on. There were no indications from either rod for the first hour until my second cast on the rod with the CTHB flavour. I had a few inquiring taps first, then the rod finally banged round and a nice 4lb 5oz chub was the result. It proved that they at least work to attract Chub, I just need to get them in front of some feeding barbel now to fully test their potential as a Barbel catcher too! I can't wait for ideal conditions to return... roll on some rain.

My first customer at 4lb 5oz

.....that took a liking to this little CTHB beauty !

The Anchovy flavour didn't produce any interest this time but I will continue to give it a try over the next few sessions until I can decide if it's a success or not. I don't tend have much joy using shop bought shelf lifes usually revertung quickly back to the humble pellet for any success, and have only tried one packet of frozen lamprey boilies a couple of seasons ago without any success barbel wise. I am looking forward to see if my own boilies will 'cut the mustard' !

Saturday 19 September 2009

Trent again and things get bleak...

Thur 17th September 2009

I started off fishing for bits to use as deadbaits for Zander, and quite enjoyed myself hauling in small chublets, perch and even a few bleak, my first of the species that I can remember! These were all dispatched and unceremoniously shoved in a carrier bag ready for use later. I set up the dead bait rod next using a simple running lead rig with a 20lb wire trace and two size 8 trebles. I left this in until a while after dark. Meanwhile I had a Barbel rod out too with either source flavoured pellet or halibut boilie on.

I eventually gave up on the dead bait rod and decided to concentrate on the Barbel, as I had spoken to two lads a few swims up that had been bivied up for a day so far and had caught a couple of Barbel each the night before. I now had two rods out with boilie or pellet on but managed just one small chub of about a pound all evening. I was quite satisfied with the session though as I worked out how to tackle livebaiting for perch in this swim, it's perfect for it with a nice depth slow margin flow and lots of bait fish. I had caught a few 1/2 pounders while fishing for bits on red maggot, so fiqured there must be the odd bigger fish lurking down there in the shadows.

Sunday 13 September 2009

Dove am session

I had to drop my parents off at East Mids Airport for 6:30am, so not being one to miss an opportunity I decided to fish the Dove on the way back for a couple of hours.

I fished two rods, one with source flavoured pellet and one with hallibut boilie. The only indication I had all session was a sharp pluck on the boilie during the first cast. Apart from that there were no further indications from any fish. I did hear a large fish splash under the far bank willows soon after I arrived and saw some large ripples wash out from under there, but they were obviously not in a feeding mood. The weather was warm and sunny and the river was very low and clear (the lowest I have ever seen it). Another blank ensued as I had to pack up at 9:30 am to get back home in time to take my daughter swimming. I enjoyed being out on the river in the morning for a change despite not catching and as long as I feel that I have learned something then no trip is ever wasted.

Saturday 12 September 2009

Trent evening session...

Fri 11th Sep 2009

I fished two swims but found the weed coming down in the first swim I tried difficult to manage.

 After a few hours I had noticed fish topping further downstream from me so decided to move there.
This second swim was deeper and had a slower flow which ment the suspended weed was not so bad, I only ended up having a couple of casts with the two rods but managed to catch a chub of about 3lb on some pellets I had flavoured with source liquid.

After landing the chub, my line had tangled up on the reel so I decided to call it a night and pull the rods in as it was now around 11:30pm.

Thursday 10 September 2009

Sept so far....

After returning from Holiday on the I fished the Dove on the following Sunday (6th) and again didn't catch. I did get my ticket checked by Jim Ufton, the current Dove River Record holder, who was fishing the peg next to me and told me the river was not fishing particluarly well this season, he wasn't sure exactly why??
Suffice to say we both blanked, so I didn't feel too inferior fishing along side him. He also confirmed that a 15lber had been out from this stretch last season (which was why he was there presumably??).
We talked about stretches on the Trent and he reccomended a stretch to me which I plan give a go soon.
He seemed friendly enough but I couldn't help thinking to myself that it must be hard work chasing after the largest Dove fish all the time, but then again I suppose if you can get out three or four times a week like he does, you might as well go for it!

That's probably why he enjoys sessions on the Trent so much as it must be more of a relaxing pleasure fish for him, the fish are not bad either, being a good average stamp at around 9 - 10 lb with the outside chance of a surprise lump.

August ... more of the same

Fished a morning session on the Dove but blanked again. I was on Holiday in Menorca for two weeks at the end of Aug though so only had time for a couple of short sessions.

Saturday 1 August 2009

Bank high blank

Thur 30th July
Another visit to the Dove and this time the water had been over the banks and was receeding back down again.

The level was back to the rim when I arrived, but the swim I had planned to fish was inaccessable, well safely anyway due to a run off ditch that, normally dry, was now coursing with about 2ft plus of water draining off the fields back into the river.

After testing the depth with a stick I decided that I would get a welly full and didn't fancy sitting there with wet legs all night or trying to get back across in the dark. So after a bit of consideration I headed for another stretch over at Marston.
On arriving I didnt have much time to set up before dark. I checked out a few swims near the bridge and decided on one in the lee of a tree on the near bank out of the main flow would be fine. I had one rod out with pellets or M C boilies and the other on meat. The only interest all night was when the meat rod sprang forward momentarily but waiting for any development resulted in nothing. The temperature dropped after dark and by 11:30 I'd had enough so packed up defeated again.
There are fish reported on the forums coming out all over the river now though so it's just a matter of time I'm sure.

Friday 24 July 2009

Hang on ...your not a chub !

Thu 23rd July 2009

I had planned to fish the Dove for an evening session, but the planned stretch was crowded when I got there, well there were two other anglers fishing. As they were both near to the swim I wanted to fish I figured the fish in that area would be getting enough pressure and so decided to go to the Trent instead.

To my great disappointment I found two other cars in the car park at the Trent ! I ended up in a peg I don't normally fish for barbel but had tried for Perch here in the past. I spoke to one of the other anglers in the next peg who turned out to be from Chelmsley Wood, we spoke about local venues we both fish like the Blythe and the Fazeley canal etc and it appears we have had similar experiences on the Dove so far (i.e. struggled).

Anyway back to the fishing, I fished the usual two rods trying one on meat at first then eventually both an Pellet or Monster Crab Boilie. The left hand rod was the first to produce a bite. After leaving it to develop for a while it finally waggled away suggesting a small chub. I was trying to cast my other rod at the time and had left the baited rig in the water gathering weed. I lifted the fish out to hand as it only seemed like a small chub of a pound or so. I then got the other rod out of the water so I could deal with the Chub. In the darkness it occurred to me that the fishes shape was not right for a chub as its head was too pointed and mouth too small.

PB Roach with me doing a goon impression holding it !!

That's shaped like a Roach I thought, sure enough when I switched on my head torch it was a good Roach. I haven't seen a good roach like this for ages so I was unsure of the size, but was pleased to find it went 1lb 2oz which will be my PB as I haven't recorded one before, and from memory the biggest Roach I have ever weighed before have never pushed the needle past the 1lb mark. So that sets a nice bench mark for a river Roach for me to beat.
1lb 2oz River Trent Roach

There were no more fish caught however I did have a bream late on that slipped the hook just by the net. No Barbel were seen rolling and the river seemed eerily quiet, not a fish surfaced as soon as darkness fell. Also there was no moon if that has anything to do with it I don't know as I don't follow the moon phase theroies.

Saturday 18 July 2009

July Dove sessions

I've had a couple more sessions on the Dove during July but the only fish to grace the net so far is a chub of 4lb 4oz. I did have one bite probably from a barbel that seemed to snag me on the take. After pulling hard to try to move the fish the rig suddenly sprang back at me minus the feeder, but with everything else perfectly intact the hook was slightly bent though.

Disappointing results so far as I feel I have worked hard for my fish.
I get the impression it's all about being there on the right day or at the right time when the fish are feeding though as catches see to be a bit sporadic from the reports on the forums. However these do seem to be improving since we have had quite a bit of rain of lately. I will keep plugging away though as I need to crack this river, I think it will all suddenly come together for me if I keep at it. ( fingers crossed)

Managed to catch a couple of minnows on pellet and hooked through the mouth (we'll kind of through the jaw and head really !!) they can give a proper bite on the rod tip when the want too !!

Tuesday 7 July 2009

Cheque book and pen anyone ?

Tuesday 23rd June 2009

I fished the Dove for my first session this season, probably the first of many on this Wonderfull River.

I arrived about 1:00pm and having most of the stretch to myself I baited up about three pegg with hemp and pellets. I was quite optomistic and was ready for my first Barbel of the season, however that was not to be and despite staying till gone 12 midnight I never really had any proper bites only a couple of tentative knocks that were probably from over enthusiastic minnows.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Back on the River

Tue June 16th 2009

Opening day arrived and I decided to go back to the Trent to my "lucky " peg in the hope of a confidence booster to kick the River season off with. However after fishing from about 9pm through till 1am I came away with just a solitary Bream. This was only caught late on in the session when I decided to move the left hand rod in to the near side margin in about 8ft of water.

Within a few minutes I had a vicious rattle, then finally the tip twanged round a few times again and I struck into what I assumed would be a Chub. The initial fight was quite a battle and I thought I must be into quite a good Chub. Soon the broad flank of a Bream rose to the surface and I was a little surprised to see it at first. The river here is quite slow and deep so I shouldn't have been, I'm just not used to catching river Bream I suppose.

I can't remember if I have ever caught a decent Bream from a river before and with this one being a respectable 5lb 10oz male in full spawning armour, (it was as rough as a tree trunk to touch and sporting loads of white tubercles on it's snout)it's definitely my largest river Bream to date. I had one more cast and had another tap but I couldn't continue much longer being tired by now and in desperate need of some kip. I had already wound in the RH rod as I'd slowly started to pack away before the Bream showed up to save me a blank.

The middle rod just kept getting plagued with weed all evening. My only regret was not trying the near margin sooner, or I might have tempted any Barbel that were feeding alongside the Bream had I built up the swim with some bait? Earlier there had been fish rolling out in the middle channel at dusk where I had the RH rod, but like I said before the weed catching on the line kept moving it out of position after a few minutes on each cast.

I didn't get this problem in the winter as most of the weed had already been stripped away by floods, so the lead was easily able to hold station out in the middle channel.

I reckon the Barbel could still be finishing off spawning and so are not yet switched onto anglers baits too much yet? Still there's plenty of time .... !

Thursday 11 June 2009

"Reservoir ..blogs"

Tue 9th June 2009

As planned I fished at Staunton Harold Reservoir but after spending all day trying two areas on the water, I blanked.

 It was really hard going and I failed to spot any fish on this massive sheet of water. The first area I chose on a point, had lots of weed around and a strong cross wind making casting difficult,  so in the afternoon I moved into a quiter bay on the south west arm.

It's like fishing an inland sea and locating the fish is the biggest problem. To attempt this water effectively I will need to do a bit more investigation and maybe try to speak to some other anglers etc... I don't think I will spend much more time on it anyway this season, as my focus will move back onto the rivers in a weeks time, and of course there's still more sessions on the Tench lake to fit in this summer yet.

Sunday 7 June 2009

A pattern emergies ?

Tue 2nd June 2009

Once again I fished the Tench Lake and this time in the peg next to last weeks.  This is where Steve had fished at the weekend and another chap I had spoken to had blanked on the previous week.  Suprisingly there were still no captures from this peg despite it producing some of the biggest fish to have come out of the lake in recent seasons, that I know of anyway!  I blanked spectacularly with out a single touch all day.

The weather was hot and sunny with little or no breeze.  The fish were probably other wise occupied with spawning activities.  I didn't see any fish all day and it makes me wonder if they have moved to another part of the lake, where it is shallower perhaps?

I will be back again in a week or two as I plan to fish a reservoir on my club ticket for my next Tench trip.

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Quick its all kicked off ! ... OK or maybe not..!!

After finishing an exam in the morning for my Construction Course, I was in urgent need of a wind down, back to the Tench lake I went again arriving about 1:30 pm. This time I was in a peg I'd never fished before on the north east bank. I had been baiting up a swim over a gravel bar with hemp, castor and dead maggots for the previous four days. The afternoon weather was overcast with a warm westerly breeze blowing across the lake straight towards me. I fired in about 10 balls of groundbait and spodded in another 1/2 gallon of hemp, pellet and corn over the area before setting up my rods.

After an hour I stared to get the odd bleep, and then suddenly the left hand corn rod took off. I struck and was pleased to feel the fish was on. It came in straight at me and didn't really fight that much doing a good impression of a Bream, however when I got her head up on the surface it turned out to be a Tench after all.

The fish weighed 4lb 1oz and was in good nick but was quite wiry curling its body up and making it difficult to get a good photo of her. It looked like quite a young fish to me and I could see no evidence of any sporn. I put her quickly back and recast the rod.

Straight away I had a dropped run on the RH fake maggot rod and as soon as I had sorted this rod; the fake corn did the business again on the LH rod. I struck into what felt like a better fish, it kited to my right and headed up the lake. I must have been a bit too heavy handed trying to turn it as I felt the disappointing jolt of the rod springing back at me when the hook pulled! Never mind I thought, just get the rod back out there quickly while they're still feeding.
I brought the maggot rod in to change the rig over to a piece of fake corn. As I was in the process of doing this the other LH corn rod was away again! This time I heeded my earlier lesson and gave the fish some line and allowed it to run for a while. It kited to the right in the same direction as the earlier fish I'd just lost and was soon in towards the bank to my right, heading under an overhanging tree. Now was the time to give it some "stick" or risk being snagged, so I bullied the fish away from the tree – praying!

The fish stayed deep generally, but I did see a boil on the surface under the tree's branches at one stage. Thankfully it started to give in and came towards me and the waiting net. After a little tussle in front of me, again staying deep, the fish finally relented and rose up through the surface layers and into the net. It had put up a good fight, more like a Carp than a Tench and I soon realised why when I saw the size if it's fins.

At 5lb 9oz it's by far the largest male fish I have ever seen, let alone caught. So I now had a Male Tench PB of 5lb 9oz, which was a nice bonus.

I had been texting Steve with progress updates, whipping him up into a frenzy, when I spoke on the phone shortly after the capture of the male. He said he would be bringing his float rod down for a quick session that evening.

The second fish had been landed an hour after the first at 4:15pm, and the action continued for a while with a few more dropped runs until about 6pm when Steve arrived. The wind had picked up by now and the temperature was dropping slightly. I caught no more fish and only had a dropped run on the RH maggot rod by the time I packed up at 10pm. There had been no further noticeable activity over my baited area but in the next swim along to my right I saw about 6 or 7 fish rolling at dusk. These were at about the same range of 30 yards out and one or two of them looked quite decent, so I guess they had moved on, my bait not enough to hold them.

Steve blanked in the next peg on my left, which is a pity as it could all have been so different if the fish had headed his way. Still, yet another lesson learned this one about feeding spells. The feeding spell I had enjoyed was from about 3pm through to 5pm before the fish started to move on.