Thursday 29 December 2011

Pike - Not you again !

Quick session again this morning, had to be back before lunch so headed to the local river again.
I fished bread flake and crumb in the feeder for an hour at first but didn't get a single bite.
Decided to put the pike rods out again as I've not blanked for pike here yet.
Caught the same fish as last time but in the next swim 30 yards down and on the opposite side of the river.  I've not hooked one of the elusive doubles that are supposed to be in here yet ! I'll try another part of the stretch next time as I don't see the point in repeat captures of Jacks.

Nearly lost it at the net as the hooks pinged out but luckily I was quick enough and scooped her up as she flailed on the surface not aware that she was momentarily free.

Thought it would be the same one as a couple of weeks ago when the weight seemed familiar

Caught today at 8lb 11oz on sardine tail 
Caught 13/12/11 at 8lb 12oz on a 5oz roach deadbait

The markings and the two wounds between the dorsal and anal fins confirmed it.

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Short small river session

With Christmas out the way I was itching to get out on the river again yesterday. I had been given a new rod for Christmas from the wife, so was eager to back out into the countryside to give it a test. I headed out at dawn to the small local river that I usually fish every winter in search of some roach and chub.

On arrival the weather was calm and mild with clear skies. The water was a bit clearer than I had expected since all the recent rain, but I was still hopeful of some action.  I baited up the reliable chub hot spot with some bread mash but then headed to another area upstream where the water is usually a bit more coloured, in the hope of finding some roach.

The new Drennan Red 9' 6" mini carp feeder rod was put into action. It comes with a 1oz and 2 oz glass tip,  perfect for this type of fishing in confined areas.

The swim is on a high bank with a drop of at least 3ft down to the surface, so a long handled net is essential. The shallower gravel run drops into sandy clay in slightly deeper water of about 3- 4ft just in front of a raft that bridges across the river  here. The roach are usually found in the deeper water a few feet in front of the raft.

Fishing 4lb line straight through to a size 10 hook and a sliding link ledger, I started getting bites on bread flake from the first cast, the tip of the 1oz feeder rod tapping away then giving a confident pull forward of about an inch or so.  I missed the first few of these bites but then hooked a roach of about 6oz that fell off at the net.  It seemed to kill the swim for a while, but then I found the bites again a further foot or so towards the raft and into the near bank.  The first fish to be landed was a small chub of less than half a pound, this was followed by four more exact copies. Obviously a shoal of small chub had been attracted and were beating the roach to the bait.  I gave it some more time but no larger fish turned up.

After a while I decided a move was in order so I started heading to the chub hot spot. On the way I could see that someone else had arrived and was heading that way too an was infront of me.  Plan B was a small pool on a bend.  I have never really done that well on here before although there are certainly fish here to be found. Unfortunately I never managed a proper bite in the hour I had left in the spot, just a few slight taps of iterest from small fish I expect.   I made a mental note as it does look good for a pike in the hole below the tree where the water drops down to least 5 or 6 feet deep. That will have to wait for another visit though.

Finally a short book review for you ...

I've just read this book on zander that was one of my stocking fillers from the wife.
Zander, How to catch them, by Barrie Rickards 2011.

A great little book full of history, tips and methods on all aspects of Zander fishing, and for about £10 it's well worth a look at.   I found it confirmed the methods I'm already using are pretty much what Barrie recommends although he made some very interesting and considered arguments on hook choice that I think I'm starting to be swayed towards.  The list of big zander was a surprise to me in the fact that there are quite a lot more massive fish from the Severn in that list than I was aware of - maybe I'll  be looking at a new ticket this year !! ..hmmm.

Thursday 22 December 2011

Fish porn

Here's some footage of a nice group of chub feeding greedily on pellets, filmed from a bridge over a local river back in August.  I've finally got round to uploading it -  well I might as well while there's nothing else to blog about !

Enjoy ...

Sunday 11 December 2011

Pike's rights - River pike pt 2

I was originally heading to the Dove this morning to trot for grayling, but last night in bed the wife reminded me that her dad was coming round to help me fit a carpet in the box room at lunchtime.
So a quick change of plan saw me heading back to the same venue as last week.

The weather was cool but not freezing at about 4 deg C and there was an upstream breeze putting an nice ripple on the slow moving deep section of river I would be fishing. The pike float went out first with a nice big 5 or 6 oz roach dead bait on.  I'd tied some new traces the evening before, so one of them was clipped on to the mainline with a treble and a single so I could present a larger bait than the small fish I usually use for Zander.

The float rod was set on an alarm so I could take my eye off the float, I was just running  a line through my trotting rod ready to attach the float wen I noticed some movement on the pike float already. The float was away in that beautiful way they glide across the surface then slide under. I wound down to feel a satisfying weight and after a little struggle another pike was in the net.

8lb 12oz

After I had returned the fish a chap stopped to enquire as to whether I'd had any pike ? yes came my reply.
"Hope you killed it".   " No, I bloody well didn't ".
The conversation then slid into a lively debate . "Too many pike in the stretch and their numbers should be culled as there's no silvers left".  Verses my argument that  pike will live in balance  if left alone and that I never have any trouble catching roach, chub, bream or even silver bream along this stretch of river.  It's one of the most diverse stretches I know of. We agreed to disagree, but both agreed that the cormorants, gooseanders, and now otters were the main threat to the fish stocks here.

That pike was all the action I had for the morning, the other rod failing to produce any silvers ironically. I'm sure they're still there, just not feeding today.

Sunday 4 December 2011

A lake chub and a river pike

Saturday afternoon on the lake

With the bloggers challenge heading swiftly to it's conclusion (just four week to go now) I was out again yesterday to try and get my Carp points at a local commercial. Any carp would do, but a double would be pretty satisfying. Unfortunately the carp were not in the mood for responding.  Serves me right for leaving it so late I suppose, I should have bagged one in the spring or summer when I had plenty of time and the carp were well on the feed!

With a rod out to my left fishing meat or soft pellets, I hoped it would fish for its self leaving me to concentrate on my float rod, with only the task of picking it up when it went off.  If this was last month, then that probably would have still been the case, but as the temperature has now dropped off considerably in the last week or so the carp are probably lying up lethargically and only feeding occasionally. 
I fished the float rod out to my right under a bush with a juicy lobworm to see if there were any Perch about, I only managed this lake chub however.

Later, and despite a series of missed takes on the ledger rod as dusk drew in,  I just couldn't connect up to any of them. I suspect they were from smaller fish trying to take the hair rigged pellets but not able to get the hook into their mouths too giving me those dreaded false takes and missed runs.

Sunday morning on the river

This morning I headed out to the river for a bit of a pleasure session.  I only had a couple of hours to play with so I just chucked out a pike float off the rod tip with a hair-rigged bait (a skimmer) laid on the bottom down the shelf.   The perch float rig that was still set up from yesterday, was duly trotted down stream under an overhanging tree. The pike float was the first to show any signs however, after about 40 minutes I noticed it twitching, then lift, and then finally plop under. Winding down to a satisfying bend in the rod as it hooped over, the fish powered off towards a fallen tree opposite me, and as I tried to turn it I felt the sudden jolt of a hook coming free !

99% foolproof !

The hook had pulled cleanly so was just a bad down t a bad hook hold which is the first time that's happened to me since I switched over to using hair-rigged single hooks.  I guess you've just got to take it on the chin sometimes, no method can be guaranteed a 100% foolproof.

 Next came a bite on the trotted lobworm just as the float was at its further limit downstream.  I saw it bury and I certainly hooked into something but the line went slack for a second or two.  It was one of those occasions when your not quite sure what's going on, I couldn't feel anything.  Then winding the reel I caught up with a fish that was heading upstream steadily towards me. The fish felt pretty big and hugged the bottom like most large fish do.  I'd only had proper contact with it for a few seconds, but long enough to know it was a 'goodun' and as I tried to apply a little pressure to steer away from the snags opposite me the second hook pull of the day reared its ugly head !  Damn, that was definitely a good fish what ever it was? I was either a very good chub, a barbel or maybe even a pike - they do love worms.  Of course I'll never know, which is probably best as it would most likely make the agony worse.  Another dozen more trots down to the very spot failed to produce even the sniff of another bite.

So that would have been it, a blank session had it not been for a snap decision to re-position the pike float inthe front of the snag across the river. I started packing away all the other gear and only had the pike rod left to do. As I was folding down my chair, I did another quick every 30 seconds float check, and noticed there was line falling from the spool as I turned my head, with the float nowhere to be seen, I wound the rod down into this nice little jack to save me from being a billy blanko ! A nice way to end a couple of hours out on the river, and it made up a bit for the earlier lost chances.

Friday 2 December 2011

Canal Zander - At Jeffs Birthday Zed bash

We all met up at the Greyhound pub around 3:30pm, and after a bit of gentle banter we headed off in three directions down as many arms of canal from Hawkesbury Junction. I had fished here with Jeff on a couple of occasions and had my canal Zander pb of 6lb 10oz on my first visit here. So I naturally headed for that area with Joe in tow.  As he had never fished the canal, my optimism obviously had him convinced enough to follow me.

We found that the local boaters had taken up residence in most of the likely looking spots but luckily enough there was a patch of dying reed beds opposite a gap either end of the boats just begging for baits to be cast at.  Joe set up one end and I headed to the other. Within minutes I landed a little scamp and so expected more action soon after. Jeff soon joined us and set up in between the two boats.

1lb - enough for a win ?

It always seems to be that when you allow yourself to become so complacent and overconfident like that, then fate slaps you in the face to remind you that " you know nothin " and so it turned out that it was to be the only run I would get all evening. It seems that the others had a similar experience with all the action coming within that window of action between the light and shade of dusk going into full darkness - the witching hour. 
Phil Smith and then Merv and his grandson all stopped by for a chat before dark, and they informed me that I might be in the lead with my one pound fish ! Unfortunately though, I later found I had been beaten by Andy and Danny who were "baggin up" near the marina with two fish each.  Gary had equalled my effort with another pound zedling. These were to be the only fish caught by all 10 anglers and about 20 rods in the water during our 4 hour match.

Phil chats tactics with Jeff

Andy had the contest sewn up with 5lb something on some new secret tactics he and Danny were employing (stewards enquiry !!) and the bloggers challenge multiplier reel zed match trophy was his. ( I think it should become the traditional trophy complete with engraved winners names, and passed on to the new winner each time we have a contest) We soon headed back to the pub for a pint and more banter  and I think the evening was enjoyed by all.  I'll certainly look forward to the next one.