Moving away from that and onto this weeks update to the blog, we start off with the introduction which includes a HUGE blog milestone, a little piece on my hook lengths for trotting for dace and chub and we finish the introduction looking at a picture from Facebook from a match fishing club that i think is confusing itself with a swimming club. The fishing is a sad one for me as these two sessions marked the end of two seasons for me as we fish for chub on the last day of the river season and the pike session turned out to be my last session of the season out for pike with Ste.
So on with the Update........
Quarter Of Million Views......
On the 11ths of February 2011 i sat in work chewing the fat with my good friend Ian, he was and still is an avid lover of dogs and capturing the sights and sounds from his walks. At this time he had a lovely dog called max and he would write a blog in Blogspot after each visit with the pictures he took of scenes of wildlife. During our dinner break he said to me "why don't you write a blog about your fishing mate" it sounded crazy at the time as although i loved fishing i was in my eyes not doing anything special, was not catching big fish or great numbers of fish so my reaction was "2ho would be interested in reading about my fishing?"
Any how that night i got home and sat at the lap top i decided for a bit of fun to create a blog called Dannys Angling Blog and just this week it has reached the milestone of 250,000 unique blog views. I put a lot into the blog and its great for me to see my ramblings proving to be so popular so thank you to everyone who visits my blog on a regular basis.
The passed few years writing my blog have been amazing i have loved the fishing and also enjoyed reliving those experiences as i put them down during the week after. In that time we have visited so many fantastic venues and had some memorable catches and i only hope the next 250k worth is as enjoyable.
In that time i have met some fantastic people, firstly my dad who i wet a line with every week at the start of the blog and then later on my uncle who shares my passion for angling and get up in the dark walking 5 fields dodging bulls mentality. In more recent years i have also met some a group of lads who i have loved fishing with for pike in Ste, Garry and Ryan and we have had some fantastic adventures and i cant wait for more to come. There has also been anglers i have met on line who i have never actually met but love talking fishing with, too many to mention but you know who you all are. There was also one angler who deserves a special mention who i met on the bank called Gordon Munro, i had the pleasure of meeting this man a few times and he was such a nice fella always would come over with his spare bait and would private message me on facebook regular about his fishing trips, a proper gentleman, he sadly passed away a year or so ago, a proper nice man and was a pleasure to meet him.
The blog being popular views always attracts the attention of companies and it has been great to work with companies like Beechwood Baits, Pondip, Go outdoors, Water to Go, Calor, minke tools and Buff to name a few, all of which have been great to work with. Sounding a bit like a final chapter this! i assure you not and here is to the adventures to come!
Hooklength For Stick Float Fishing....
While the rivers are open Fridays nights means two things for myself, one is sorting out my gear to match the venue for the next day and two is tying up hook lengths. The tackle shop i used to go into was baffled at the amount of hooks i went through, i could never understand as he was making money, anyhow most times into the shop i would buy hooks and get the same comments.
It turned out he was a avid carp angler and then it all made sense he was paying ridiculous money for one hook but that would be the only hook he would use for that session and he had never fished a river. On a river you can lose a hook length first trot through as in effect you cover so much of the swim you will find snags. Some sessions you can go through 10 hook lengths if there is a big snag that you have to try and navigate round with your float so it pays to be prepared as having hook lengths made up saves so much time. Also if you are catching well on the float for dace and you feel the hook has lost its sharpness, which can happen when you catch numbers of fish, changing hook lengths quick so you don't lose the shoal can be a god send so i always make sure i have a number of hook lengths in my box the night before.
Stick float fishing for dace and chub i keep things as simple as possible, 4lb main line down to a 1.7lb or 2.1lb hook length that consists of three number 8 shots on the line and a size 18 or 20 whisker barb hook. River fishing does not have to cost a fortune and as long as your gear is balanced for the species you can had some real fun fishing for smaller species. Above in the picture is all the components that make up my hook lengths for trotting the Dane and river Dee.
Don't Forget Your Arm Bands....
On social media this week i came across the following picture:
As you can see on the picture above the lake has been divided into sections or lanes, looks a bit like a swimming pool rather than an angling lake to me if i am honest. I delved deeper into it and some of the clubs where using this as a means to scare off cormorants as it stops them landing on the lakes, i fully can understand this as the damage they do to still waters can be catastrophic but the other answers threw up a more shocking answer.
Apparently these "lanes" as quite common on the match scene to stop anglers from encroaching on the anglers swim next to them during matches. Of course, in any walk of life or sport, when you introduce money into the scenario you are going to get people who will take liberties and go beyond the gentleman's agreements limits during matches but has it really got so bad that lanes are needed? seriously? it really does baffle me in a sport where men fishing in matches with money involved need such childish barriers to be set out to stop cheating, it really does baffle me. Lets hope these clubs never hold matches on the rivers or we may need a line of buoys at the end end of each trot to stop people going too far! what ever next. Not so much a rant as a bafflement on my part with this one.
With that its onto this weeks fishing, no armbands where deflated in the following sessions...
Lovely Chubley End To The Season....
Well the last weekend of the river season has really come around fast this year it seems the winter on the rivers passed by in the blink of an eye. I was with a tinge of sadness i loaded the car on the final day of the season, first my seat box followed by holdall and net bag and it was then the short trip to pick my uncle up. It was quite surreal thinking it would be a while before i made this same journey again as my uncle always has a few weeks off the fishing when the rivers close. I must admit at this point i had given fishing everything i had all season going full on with the rivers and the piking i was a little tired and drained as i made that final journey.
As predicted the previous weekend we got quite a bit of rain during the week although my prediction of it ruining the fishing was far from the mark. We stood there in my uncles kitchen and looked through the various locations we could fish and we settled on one and if it came off it could be a spectacular end to the season.
We arrived and made the long walk to the river and as we did so we passed familiar fiends that have made this such a spectacular place to fish, mr Buzzard perched in the second fence post of the first field and as we saw the river mrs kingfisher flashed past us almost as a bye see you in 3 months salute. Setting up in the first swim where i had done well in the past i was expectant of a nice net of chub, i took my time and fed the swim as i did as i knew the fish where there and there was no need to rush. The first trot down i expected the float to go but very defiantly it refused to do so.
A hour of trotting and i even tried running along the snag but there was nothing doing and when the float eventually went under my reward was a very fat trout with a gob full of maggots.
One thing i have learnt doing a fair bit of trotting for chub this seasons is the pecking order in the swim your in. If the chub (shoal of the big ones 2-3lb) are there you catch nothing but chub, if the chub move out you get the trout move in next and when they are missing your smaller fish like dace, roach and chublets get a look in, if your catching bull heads, gudgeon and minnows for a length of time then there is nothing around at all. I had chub on my mind for the end of season trip so the arrival of another trout marked my signal to move swims.
The swim i moved too was a swim i had fished recently and done OK in but on previous trips i had only caught 4-5 chub and i had then struggled but i was also yet to do a whole day in it so i guess the last session on the season i had little to lose. The swim is a beautiful glide to trot a float down it is a even 5ft deep from nearside bank to far side and keeps this depth for around 20 yards down the swim before it quickly shallows before some faster water below and with overhanging trees nearside and far side it offers plenty of places for the chub to hide.
In this swim i set my stall out straight away with a few bait droppers of hemp and maggot to really get the chub on the feed right down the middle of the swim and away from the snags they call home. Chub are hard enough to get out at the best of times but are certainly a different animal if you can hook them away from their snaggy homes. The bait droppers in and settling i calmly got myself comfy and ready to trot a bait down the swim. A 8 number 4 float was my chosen float down to a 2lb 1oz hook length and a size 18 hook loaded with double maggot, i was super confident. My confidence was proved right as as soon as the float settled it zoomed under and i was playing my first chub of the day.
The fish came out without too much trouble and splashing so i was straight back into the run and again the float went under and in 5 minutes fishing i had two chub in the keep net as opposed to the hour or two earlier spent for one trout. With a relatively short swim its a case of catching fish and then gaining their confidence again as catching the fish does spook the shoal.
Two fish in the net i fed the swim again with the bait dropper to keep the fish more concentrated on the feed than the fish being caught around them, bait and more importantly competition for bait does really overcome the fishes fear. The next fish was a greedy trout right up the swim and this really did make a right mess of the whole swim jumping clear of the water on a number of occasions.
I again fed the swim heavily but left it to stew and went to see my uncle who had also had a couple of chub. A quick chat and i returned back to my swim and the trick worked as the float buried first trot down and my 13ft korum rod bent nicely into a chub. Next trot down and another chub was again fighting a losing battle. Again its worth mentioning that all these fish where caught on really light 2lb hook lengths and a balanced set up.
So at this point i had been fishing a while and had four chub and the odd trout and i was confident there was more to come from the swim and was a case of just keeping patient. I kept drip feeding the swim and introducing the bait via the bait dropper but in the next 30 minutes i went on to lose 4 chub all to hook pulls as the chub darting for cover and a lot of this was down to my reel suddenly sticking on the drag. With these four fish lost the swim was a as dead as a door nail and i needed to do something so i again fed the swim heavily and set about sorting the reel out. Taking it apart i noticed some sand and mud had got in between the spool and the front drag so i gave it a good clean and returned to the swim.
This messing around took a good hour before i was ready to go again. I knew the chub where there and it was a case of gaining their confidence. The river on the day was quite clear with just a tinge of colour and i don't know what was going on up stream but the river suddenly really coloured up quite a bit, might well have been cows in the cow drink just upstream but it really coloured the river. At this point it was around 1pm and i had around 3 hours of the session left.
Returning to the swim it was like the gods had shone down on me as the added colour really brought the fish on and it was the best end to the season i could have wished for as time and time again the float would go under and another chub would come in, drag sorted they where all making their way into the keep net. In the course of the next few hours i put a good number of chub n the bank and all the fish where just down from the swim as the colour gave them the confidence to come right up onto the bait.
Now some might think all the feeding with the bait dropper is a bit excessive but when you are catching chub and finding this in their throats it makes you realize just how much they can eat. The final net had around 15 chub in it and you add to that the ones you do not catch plus the trout you can imagine how much bait is needed.
The final net went 27lb and was a fantastic end to the season and i was gutted packing in the leave the banks of the river, roll on June 16th!!.
Pike Season Comes To A Close.....
The next day saw me meeting up with Ste for a social pike session. We only had from first light till 11am. The first session where we really battered them taking 9 fish with 4 doubles showed us the potential but since that session the numbers of fish kept on coming but we really had to work for them and the bites where certainly a lot more finicky.
We met up before first light and walked the bank hoping to see signs of feeding pike but none where forth coming. The water was flat calm with not a breath of wind and the clarity of the water was bang on so we were really confident. We both cast in two rods each and sat back awaiting the action, where we confident? of course we were we had caught some beautiful fish and had some steady action. 06.49 and Stes rod was the first one to one to get some attention, Ste a picture of calmness nonchalantly picked up his rod and felt for the fish on the end. Experience letting him know from the plucks on the line as to what is going on at the other end. Like years ago watching azza trotting a float watching Ste going about his trade you cant help but pick up on stuff and showing a willingness to learn and ask questions has certainly seen my piking improve dramatically towards the end of this season.
Striking into his fish it was clear it was a nice fish and as i have mentioned in previous blogs having someone to net you fish when piking is so beneficial as the first time the fish comes up you can scoop the fish up and net it a lot earlier than if you where alone. The fish on the bank it was a solid start to the session and a fish that we both knew would be there or there about the double figure mark. On the scales she went 9lb5oz, another fish so close to being a double this season.
As i mentioned earlier the bites have been very funny of late and it was a good hour and half till the next fish came to the net, in the period in between i had a take that dropped the bait which was frustrating to say the least. The next fish was a real funny bite that saw the float move gingerly and erratically across the water and we both said this is a small jack that could not take the whole bait. We where proved right and a small jack was landed and released to run the gauntlet of the females in the area.
A hour and a half wait for that bite and the clock ticking it was time for a move and we moved to a place we had done ok in the past. The baits in position it took a matter of minutes before my float was off along the the water. Now this season has been very special to me with the pike and i have had some epic tussles and fights along the way but this was well and truly up there.
Set up between two moored boats there was a big enough gap for two of us to fish a rod each left and to the right. My float moved off with a steady but fast take and in true jaws style the float disappeared into the depth. The speed the float was moving meant when i was winding down i had no idea where the fish actually was and it had gone half way down the canal along the boat so striking i had to play the fish blind. The fish fought like a demon with long hard runs and it was clear it was a nice fish. The fish eventually come round in front of me and what it did next was truly scary.
In one flick of the pikes tail if went on a long hard run under the boat on my inside bank, i can only imagine it saw the darkness under it. We my years of chub fishing on rivers really paid off as my natural instincts kicked in and i shoved the rod tip as deep as it would go beneath the water, upped the drag and prayed the hooks did not find the bottom of the boats hull and the knots held and brought it back from under the BOAT!
I have said so many times with this piking that the lines between catching and landing a fish are so fine, sometimes i fish that is well hooked can come of with one shake of the head and then you get scenarios like this one where i fish goes really hard under boats the lot and you get it in and the hooks literally fall out its mouth in the net!
A fight to remember and a lovely reward with a pike of 10lb 8oz.
The fish released i breathed a sigh of relief and we both had a good celebration as that fish marked us reaching the target of 30 double figure fish between us for the season. The time passed by and it was a case of 15 minutes longer on the session proving worthwhile as we should have both been packed up and away but like two anglers addicted to our sport we where still there come half an hour after we should have been gone and thank god we did as ste nailed a beautiful mike to round of the season with this stunningly marked pike, was a cracking fish to end the season on.
So apart from one session i did to help a mate out who is new to piking where i blanked that about brigs my pike season to and end. I will be doing a round up of the season on my blog as i feel it would be good to write a summary of the pike season as i went through it and also a final scores on the doors for the pike challenge we set out on at the start of the season so keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks.
i leave you with a video of my rather energetic pike going back!
So that is another chapter in my angling life documented,
i wish you all tight lines