Monday, 6 July 2015

River Dane Stick Float Fishing

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  The season is just over a week old and it has been great seeing all the fantastic captures from all over the country as anglers of all ages showcase what fantastic sport is available in our glorious rivers.

Last weeks short session saw me gazing longingly towards the end of the week and another chance to wet a line in running water, i could not wait!  This weeks introduction i will be covering how basic and simple the tackle is for stick float fishing and how cheap, once set up you can have a full days fishing for less than a price of a kilo of boilies.  The next part of the introduction looks at the effort that goes into finding and researching a good hemp seed supplier to buy a bulk order of hemp from and its not a simple as buying the best value option. The fishing this week is really the first proper session on the river as we travel to the river dane with a proper session on the river stood in the actual river with a bait waiter, after months sat on my seat box i was looking forward to it.

On To the Update:

Stick Float Fishing Cheap As Chips -

Stick float fishing is certainly seen as a specialist branch of our wonder full sport where you need years of practise and a deep pocket for plenty of specialist gear.  The truth is quite far from that mindset and although when you get into it more expensive and specialised tackle might be purchased, for example a longer 15-17ft rod, most rivers can be fished with a simple 13ft float rod.

The session you will read about in a moment i fished the river with my 13ft Korum float rod a open faced reel and the end tackle consisted of a stick float, some number 4 weights and a size 20 hook on a 1.7lb hook length it really is as simple as that.  The hook length there means a float can last you years as when you snag on bottom all you lose is the hook length so the initial outlay down you find most of your money is spent on hooks and weights oh and of course bait.

Week on week money spent on bait is where plenty of fun can be had for a minimal weekly outlay.  As a simple comparison the going rate now for boilies is around £10.00 now for 1kg looking around the bait for the sesison this week was £5.00 for two pint of maggots and i bulk buy my hemp in 20kg bags for 30 quid so say at most £1.50 for the pint of hemp, even with £1.50 for weights and £1.50 for hooks you are still under a tenner.  Maybe boilies where a bad example to compare against but then again when you see the amount bait costs to just go fishing for some aspects of our sport it really does make the eyes water.

So why not give your local river a try and learn a new part of our sport that offers so much fun and given the right areas plenty of action with fishing where you really don't know what the next fish will be and all for under a tenner, great fun.

In Search For Good Hemp Seed

Hemp seed plays a huge part in my river fishing and it is a bait that i really don't like travelling to the river without.  Hemp seed can be hit or miss from session to session and on some occasions you might as well have not brought it but when the fish are on it the results are outstanding.  Hemp seed is a fantastic bait for holding fish in the swim and as such when the fish are tuned into your patch of hemp seed then you can literally predict where the float will go under, a simple hold back before the hemp to hold it on the spot and soon as you release the line the float will shoot under, a great feeling.

I use that much hemp during the river season that its works out financially for me to bulk buy a 20kg sack of hemp and divide it down into pint session bags.  The savings doing it this way are huge and i have covered in a previous blog the prices in detail but i think of the top of my head it works out that we get 20kg for £30.00 and to buy from the shop each week raw it would cost closer to £100.00, so as you can see a huge saving.

The buying of hemp is not as easy as just looking for 2okg of hemp on the Internet and just picking out the cheapest one.  Although we just throw it in a river there is good and bad hemp seed on the market and research has to be done to see if the company has a track record of providing hemp that chits easily.  Hemp seed being the seed of the cannabis plant is mainly imported from abroad and as such it is treated to make sure the seeds can not be sewn to grow cannabis plant.   This process of heating the seeds if done for too long can lead to the seeds not chitting and you can boil it till the end of time and it will not split.

Once i find a supplier i will search the Internet for reviews given by anglers and you will soon see the bad ones as no one like to buy a huge sack of hemp to find its useless so you tend to find some strongly worded reviews, of course the same can be said for the good suppliers who get a lot of praise.  The last bulk we bought was fine but we did find odd batches that would not split as well as others.  Research this week has been ongoing but i will post the supplier i find and use this year and the results in a upcoming blog.

With that its on to this weeks fishing..

River Dane Stick Float Fishing: Just What I Needed...

The sesison on the opening day was  more a dipping of our toes in the running water than a proper session out fishing.  In reality we only fished the morning and was home in plenty of time for a nice relaxing afternoon, Saturday was going to be far different.  Our sessions out fishing are normally Saturday affairs where we get out at the crack of dawn to wet a line so it was really weird waking up Saturday morning around 7am and not being out on the bank.  My uncle had been offered some overtime in work on Saturday morning so we made plans to fish the afternoon into dusk on the river. 

An afternoon session to evening is a session we very rarely fish so on the morning of Saturday i was really excited to see what this session would bring.  The area we planned to fish was a stretch of river we had ventured to take a look at during the closed season and we had ear marked a few likely looking pegs we wanted to give a go.  My uncle set up on a cracking looking stick float swim that was a long straight down the river with what looked on paper as an even depth down and across to whole run.  My swim was on the inside slack of a bend as the river flowed from left to right and was a swim i knew i had a chance of getting a basket in but in reality i would probably find myself stood in the river with my bait waiter.


Stick float fishing is a great way of discovering the make up of a swim and what it holds, you set up only knowing a few facts about the swim like, it flows from left to right with a slow to medium pace and there is a submerged tree to my left in the edge.  Looking down stream there are willows on the inside of the bend and on the far bank some reeds.  I could not see the bottom of the river across the main of its length so that told me it held a decent depth and the flow was a gentle slow trot that looked great for a float.  That is about all i knew looking at the swim and as i say fishing it all day you learn a hell of a a lot so we will look again at the end of the sesison to see what the swim was really like.

By the time the bait waiter was in the water and the keep net nestled next to it i had already been trickling in some bait on the line i was hoping to fish.  As with all my fishing it was a case of starting easy and only going for the harder line if the fish stop feeding and move out.  Setting the rod up was a doddle compared to my 17ft rod which seemed to take an age and it was not long before i was ready make a cast.  I went With a 10 number 4 float and this was purely for control if i had to go on the far line as i knew i would be losing control due to the lack of length in the rod so i hoped a heavier float would help me stay in connection with the float and the heavier weight would keep it on a settled line.  

A nice depth of 4 ft at the end of the rod tip which dropped to around 6 ft in the middle and over to the far side meant i certainly had a nice depth to fish in.  The first trot down and the float didn't even settle signalling a fish had taken the bait on the drop.  A tiny roach is a predictable start to a session on this river but i knew better fish would be around.

The small roach where in a ravenous mood as they devoured maggots on the drop time and time again and i think most people would have given up thinking that was all that was around.  I drastically upped the feeding to make sure some bait was getting through the swim and a good hand full of hemp down the swim ensured the table was set for the better fish the settle over.

The feeding upped soon showed some results as the odd small chublet started to show among the smaller roach fry, not massive but it showed the better fish where around.  After around half an hour the swim seemed to settle down and the smaller fish either dispersed by the arrival of bigger fish of simple had eaten their fill.  The float now was at least settling and going down swim towards my hemp and the first trot down over my hemp  resulted in this greedy chublet.

A quick check down the chubs throat revealed a ball of hemp and the odd maggot down its throat confirmed some bait was getting through to the fish down the swim.  The quality of the fish certainly improved when the float was getting down through the swim but i knew this would not last on the inside line as the sun moving across was shortening the Shadow on the river where the fish where holding in such bright clear conditions.

The bites went from strength to strength on this line with the odd better roach and chublet coming between smaller fish but predictably the line began to dry up as the shadow retreated.  The only thing to do then is to try and feed a new line.  Whilst i worked the float down the inside line winkling out the odd fish over the bed of hemp i began to feed a new line around 3/4 across the river and i fed this for a good hour before moving onto it.  The hope was to have a few fish lined up on the line when i went over. 

This tactic is a huge risk on a small river like the dane as it does hold a number of snags and apart form the depth of the swim i knew i could be feeding a line that could contain a huge snag in it and wasting my time.  The time came to move over to the far line and i was instantly into some nice roach.

These roach all came right down the swim and i noticed trotting along slightly over depth that the float would settle after casting in but then all of a sudden the bottom number 8 would come into play and the float would dot right down and it was here i was getting my bites.  From this you can work out that there is a slight depression in the river bed her as your number 8 that in the first bit of the trot is dragging along then suddenly drops into the hole and the extra weight registers on the float.  In the low and clear conditions fish really can ball up in places like this and it is amazing just how many fish they can hold. 

The better roach where certainly in the deeper hole so i fed my hemp to fall directly on their location to keep them there and it seemed to work a treat with regular trips down bringing either a chublet or a nice roach.

As the afternoon moved on toward 8pm i expected the bites to come on again so a cheeky feed of the inside line began and with the far bank trot being so difficult to get right with the shorter rod i was relieved to get back to the tip of the rod fishing and in the last hour it did bring a few more fish to the net.

The final net for me went 13.8lb and it was a really enjoyable session on the bank.

My uncle also fared well in his swim with this cracking net of dace and roach.

So from a swim point of view what did we learn? Well we leaned the river was quite a settle depth across its length and it also held that depth for the entire run, a few trots down saw me hitting a snag down the middle of the river that was not moving so it was a sizable branch.  The far run was slightly shallower but the swim then dropped into a deep hole over the far side.  Fish wise we learnt how the fish hug the shadows so we can look out for that in other swims and also consider this swim when the river has colour in it as i reckon you could get the fish to come right under your feet.

All in all a great session on the bank fished with the sun on our backs and it was great to be back out on the bank.

till next time

tight lines


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