Friday, 19 August 2016

23lb of River Roach On Bolo & Canal Tinca......

A war welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  A few days booked off work last weekend and to start it off was a session on the river.  We knew little about whether the fish would be shoaled up on the spots but after a few hard weeks we knew it was time to go all out and see what was on offer and what a session awaited us.

The second part of the blog is a session i did recently on the canal where i decided to target an area with the idea of maximising the fish i could catch.  More on my thought processes and reasons in the update but lets just say one fish had me walking up and down the bank.  We start this update off thought with a bit of an introduction chat on the upcoming pike season that is well and truly in my thoughts right now.

On with the update..

Piking Just round the Corner...

So chilling out this week i get a message of my piking buddy Garry asking if i wanted in on our usual annual bait order and i have to say the text had me checking the calendar and low and behold we are just over a month away from the start of the pike season.  My god this has sneaked up on my and to be honest it just does not feel right just now to be even thinking about pike, least not on days where the mercury is creeping up to 90 degrees.

The order does need doing though and after two years pike fishing i think i am starting to develop confidence in certain baits as this years order, without the value back,  does only really contain around 3-5 species of dead baits. I will of course go more into the bait order when it arrives in a future blog but i thought i would just touch base with it here to let the blog know that piking is well and truly starting to weigh heavy in my thoughts.

Of course last years pike season was well documented in this week by week round up here:

One thing is for sure in this pike season and that is the fact there will be new adventures on new waters to me and with some big pike under my belt and nothing to really aim for the pressure is off and its time to build on past seasons and take this to brand new areas to see if i can tempt the odd big girl.  As mentioned previous more on my hopes and aspirations closer to the start of the season.

23lb River Roach On The Bolo....

The passed few weeks have been really tough for me and my uncle on the rivers with low clear conditions on one river seeing the bites die as soon as the sun come up and the other river we fished being a bite a chuck but swims begin ravaged by pike and killing any sport.  In short i had a choice to make i could either be selfish and go back the smaller river and try all out for barbel knowing i would be in for a shout but my uncle would be enduring a pike ridden time in a swim or we could go all out on a whim and try a completely different river all together and see if the fish had arrived in their summer and autumn haunts, we decided on the later.

The above paragraph illustrates just how fishing together you have to be a team and think of each others fishing.  The river was a good walk from the parking spot and involved the odd hilly climb and a short section of dense brambles, it was clear no one was fishing these spots recently, just our cup of tea.  We finally arrived in the swims and we decided to both fish the same swim, i was on the bolo and my uncle was going to try and fish the pole and stick float.  The ultimate aim of the session was to get the odd bite and be close enough have a natter.

I shocks me when people email me saying they live near a river but are unsure how to fish it as it looks complicated when the truth is river fishing is so basic and simple in its design and the true learning of the art form comes form repetition and putting the time in to learn how to read a river and run a float through. A quick look at my side tray shows how simple the gear is i use, 1.7lb bayer perlon line for hook lengths, size 16 hooks 3 gram bolo float and some everyday weights.  This in its entirety covers everything that goes on the line from top to bottom.

To those interested in fishing a bolo and wondering how you set it up i plum the depth with no weights at all on the line to get a true depth and then fishing a hook length around a foot long i place 3 number 8 droppers evenly spaced on the hook length.  Above all these i put most of the weight in a bulk to cock the float so only the red of the float shows, doing this you leave enough weight to place a small number 8 weight beneath your float.  This weight servers two purposes in of course stopping the float sliding on the line and i find it begins the settle the float as soon as it hits the water meaning its easier to pick up those bites on the drop.

Catching a lot on the river does not have to be expensive at all, you can make it expensive when you go down the ground bait line, but in general i take 2 pints of maggot and a pint of hemp for most of my river fishing, a great days fishing can be had on around 6 quids worth of bait it really can.

 The swim was around 8 feet deep and was of a similar depth along its length till it felt like it shallowed up at its tail.  Plumbing up a bit further out it did drop away again by a couple of inches but my initial thought was to see what i could catch on the deck and then see if the fish further out would have it just off bottom.  It is sort of killing two birds with one stone way of working out how they are feeding better.

The first few trots down went by without a tap but then slowly the odd bite started to develop with a small billy perch and the odd small roach.  A severe upstream wind was meaning the float was holding back lovely in the swim and on the day i think this certainly helped the swim.

Bites then started to come thick and fast as it was clear a big shoal of roach had moved into the swim.  It seemed bites from smaller roach where hard to hit and i missed loads of bites on the day but when the float buried with a proper roach there was no missing the bite and on some occasions i cast in, fed with the catapult, saw the float go under and still had time to grab the rod and strike.

After the first hour the swim was alive with roach as time and time again the bolo would slide away.  I knew with so much prey about a pike would soon be attracted and no sooner had i mentioned this fact to my uncle than a flash of green appeared under the surface as a small jack nailed a nice roach.  I could see the jack pike and it was no bigger than the roach.

On the day it shocked me how the swim recovered after the pike attacks, this pike would nail the odd fish but being too big to swallow it would let go and in would come a roach with a small half moon crescent bite on it.  He was on me all day but thankfully it didn't seem to bother the swim.

As the session wore on a pattern began to emerge and i started to notice that the bigger roach where holding just that bite further out than i was feeding my hemp.  A few of the better ones below.

You would nail a couple on the bounce and then a move back into the nearside line would see you pickling up an average stamp roach of a few ounces.  As the session wore on i could feel i was putting a decent net of roach together and chatting to my uncle he was sure i had over 15lb in the net as the average size of the fish was steady.

I actually ran out of hemp on the session but kindly my uncle provided me with a nice top up for the last hour.  I did think about changing over to corn but in my head i was thinking "why change anything? i am catching steady and a nice stamp"  I guess a bigger bait like corn might have picked out these better roach time and time again but given i was a bite a chuck i felt i needed not to change anything in my approach.

As with all memorable river sessions it all went by too fast and before i knew it the sun had come over and it was time to pack in.  It is always a killer packing in when the fish are still having it and i am sure had i fished on into the evening the fish would have come on even more and we would possibly have been looking at a very special net indeed.

The final net went 23lb 8oz! and was mainly made up of roach with the odd chublet, hybrid and 1 dace!

All in all a very special session on the river and although as i write this now terrible weather is battering at the window i can not wait to get out tomorrow morning back on the river and this time armed with more bait i pray i find the fish hungry, although in these conditions a fish might be a result.

Bridgewater Canal Fishing Session - Battles with a Tinca.....

A warm day previous saw me arriving on the canal to be met by one of the most beautiful red skies i have ever seen.  When people ask what will you miss most about fishing if you packed in tomorrow i would certainly say the special moments you experience like this when you know the world around you is asleep and there in that moment you are completely worry free and in ore of mother natures beauty.

First things first and it was as always mixing up the ground bait so by the time i had set up it was ready to be riddled.  Swim choice on the day was a bit factor for me, in the stretch there is no shortage of cover and fishy looking spots but on this session i was a man with a plan.

I walked the length till i found what i was looking for and i found it just after a boating dock.  A canal boat on the far side and the fact the canal narrowed slightly here meant i could fish a line on only a few sections of pole and be right by the boat and i could also fish another line on the 2m whip under feet.  My hopes for the session where to really be aggressive and attack the swim to see how much i could catch before the boats started up.

Over the far bank line went 3 big balls of ground bait laced with hemp and red maggot and i left this to settle while i fished the whip close in.  Feeding small balls of slop i was soon picking up roach a chuck under my feet and i would say in that first hour i picked up a steady weight of fish with the odd better roach.

The swim under my feet began to slow down, this is normal for the canal it seems, so it was time to try over my far bank line.  The float slid away straight away with a nice skimmer so i straight away went in with another big ball of ground bait.  My hope was for the better bronze bream to settle in the swim and the extra feed to keep them there.

Fishing maggot i knew i would be picking up anything that swims and it was literally a bite a chuck on the far bank line as the float slid away each time it settled.  For a canal it was fantastic fishing and thoroughly enjoyed the early exchanges.  The swim did die momentarily and with fish up in the net i am sure i was visited by a toothy visitor but never actually saw any signs.

The far bank line then again come alive and it felt like the swim had breathed a huge sigh of relief.  Steady bites continued and you can imagine my surprise when i lifted into a fish and it all went sold and then the elastic went zooming down the canal, a carp i was sure.  The fish went right into the thick week and all went solid, shipping back to my top kit i felt sure i was about to be ducking out of the way of a float and hook coming back at me but then something gave and the fish came free, it was still on!

Up and down the canal i walked trying to tire the fish out on a light elastic till eventually i managed to slip my net under a beautiful tench.  A perfect sight on a perfect morning.

The tench in the net i settled back into catching the silvers and it was good fishing till the boats revved up around 9am, one at first and you can cope with them when they come every 10 to 15 minutes one at a time but when they where coming along in threes and fours every five minutes i knew time was called.

A cracking 16lb canal net was my reward.

I think my only regret on this session was not taking corn as i think a bigger bait might have nailed more bream and maybe more tench but still 16lb in only a few hours on the cut i left a happy angler.

tight lines if you are out this weekend and stay safe,

till next time



  1. Was it the Dee? It's full of fish all over.

    1. this wasn't the dee mucka but i am hearing its fishing its head off, be a busy winter if they shoal in normal haunts for sure!


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