Monday, 26 March 2012

Spring arrives at Flushing meadows fishery.....

This week I decided to publish a page on Facebook dedicated to the blog so if any of you are currently on facebook and would like to know when the blog has gone live I will be posting the weekly update link on the page.  I will also be using the page to post live on the bank (where connection allows) and also publish any pictures that don’t make it onto the weekly blog. 

This time of year is a time I look forward too so much as it’s a time where it feels like all around you is bursting with new life.  In work the local magpies outside my window have diverted their attention from searching from food to the repairing of their nest form last year in preparation of the arrival of this year’s young. This family constantly amaze me throughout the year and I only hope I am as lucky this year as I was last when I witnessed them making their first flight form the nest.

The trail I walk every morning with my canine companion, Pippa, is now etched with all the colours of spring with bright yellow Daffodils contrasted with the vibrant blue of what I think are bluebells lining our route and although a lot of the trees are still to fill with leaves there is a few trees along our route laden with blossom and as you pass you cant help but smell the beautiful honey like aroma they give off filling your nostrils with the scent of spring.

The changes brought on by spring are all around us even in our man made towns and cities but there is no better place to be than on a farm at this time of year to truly see all the changes of this season and on Sunday I was lucky enough to be on such a location and what a magical place it was with the family of buzzards in full flight and this years beef cattle in their fields.  One task that is completed by the farmer and this time of year is ploughing the fields ready for this years crop to be planted and this picture below I think sums up spring time on a farm for me (that is till the rivers open and we see all of this years lambs in the fields).

Although this is a blog about my fishing adventures one of my aims over the next year is to try and incorporate a lot more pictures of the nature I see while on the bank.  This is a lot easier when fishing the pole but I must admit when trotting the river it can be more difficult to grab the camera but I am really going to try and make a concerted effort to try and capture the feel of what its like to be on the bank of the locations I fish.

On to this week’s fishing

After a late night the previous evening celebrating my brothers 21st birthday party both me and my uncle arrived on the bank of our chosen venue a little worse for wear but excited for the day ahead.  Our chosen venue was our local commercial Flushing Meadows and after the week leading up to Sunday being so warm with bright sunshine the prospects of catching our first carp of the season where high.

I arrived at my chosen peg which was and end peg on lake one the snake lake which I had looked at last week before leaving the fishery.  My plan of attack for the day was to pick two lines and stay disciplined with what bait I was feeding in each swim and also be accurate with every piece of feed I was putting in by using the kinder pot on my pole for all my feeding.

After plumbing up I found a shelf up the margin to my left where my plan was to fish meat and I found the bottom of the nearside shelf on my top four sections where my plan was to fish solely corn and micro pellets.  I set the top four swim of with 3 kinder pots of corn and began fishing meat up the left hand margin.

I really stuck it out on the meat line and continued to feed the corn line every 15 minutes with a few grains of corn to keep it ticking over. By 10am the meat line produced nothing at all, not even a knock of the float so I decided I had gave the meat a good go and without any signs decided to change tactic on this line and fed it heavily with castor and micros and left it to settle while I tried the corn line in front of me with an instant result of this slimy skimmer bream.

The swim continued to produce these skimmer bream but it was very slow going so I decided to move back over to the castor line and I tried to feed the swim in a way that the castors would get to the bottom and not attract the hordes of roach and rudd that reside in this pool. This plan was good in theory but in practice there was no escaping the silver fish and like last week the bites where none stop with quality roach coming all morning on the castor and micro pellet margin line.

As the morning wore on sun burnt away the morning mist and we were all basked in glorious sunshine and all three of us where keeping an eye out for any carp moving in the margins or basking on the surface but there was none showing at all which really shocked me given the bright warm sunlight.

The margin line went from strength to strength and the quality of the fish also improved with ide moving in from time to time to add a little excitement as they really do go some once hooked.

The morning came and went all too quick and I lost count at the amount of silvers I had caught.  The other anglers on the pool seemed to be struggling and I guess from the lack of sport they were mainly all out for the carp which were still not showing at all and as the afternoon wore on the prospect of catching one also faded away so much so I actually moved over to a lighter elastic such was my feeling that none would show.

The quality of silver fish in these commercials is the one thing that amazes me all the roach we caught where decent fish with very few showing any scale damage at all although we did catch a few silvers with mouth damage.

The afternoon also saw the farmer begin ploughing the rest of his field and this saw seagulls appear from all directions and converge on the field behind us it truly was a sight to behold and just goes to show how clever these birds are at adapting to the world us humans cultivate.

As the afternoon moved on I expected a few carp to be moving in so I began to again feed meat into the swim which did produce a carp, only not of the size I was expecting but it again showed the variety on offer at this fishery.

We all continued to fish on till around 4.30pm and as we were leaving we spoke to a few of the anglers around the pool and it became apparent that sport for the carp had been none existent with only one carp caught between the anglers which were left.

All in all it was a good day on the bank and if I had one criticism of the place it would be the fact you can’t use your keep net on there.  If you could just use it for silvers alone it would be worth any extra money it would cost but I can understand why fishery owners don’t allow this as managing such a rule would be a nightmare as you will always get that one angler who will put carp in there net and run the risk of not being caught.

Next week we will hopefully be on a new Stillwater but till then I wish you all

Tight lines


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Chasing silvers at flushing meadows fishery

Before we get into this weeks blog there is a special person who I need to wish a big happy birthday to and that is my brother who turns 21 this week, Happy birthday bro, we have been through so much these last few years together and I have so many great memories of the past 21 years, you’re are the best brother anyone could wish for and mum would be so proud of you. You will make a great uncle later this year and here is to the good times to come mate!!!

It really saddens me to beginning a new blog entry talking about pollution but yet again I find myself reading a fellow anglers blog to find him not talking about a glorious catch of trout or chub from his local river but instead posting pictures of pollution running downstream as he crossed a bridge which runs over his local river.  I post a weekly blog and I can remember talking about a river a while ago covered in foam and not too long ago another fellow angler was fishing a stretch that had suffered a pollution incident in 2009.  This for me is 3 times too many in a year and although some pollution incidents are unavoidable from scenarios like accidents where a spillage is the result but more and more these pollution incidents are a result of big companies just seeing the local waterway as a place to discharge their waste and hopefully the culprits from this last incident will be traced and prosecuted for their actions!!.

The river this time was the River Irwell and the incident was posted on both Mike Duddy’s blog  ( ) and also the Salford Friendly Anglers Society blog (  both these blogs I follow and have long admired the fish mike catches and I am constantly admiring the efforts the anglers in Salford put into local ponds and their relentless efforts to restore and promote fishing around the Manchester area.  These are people who put so much back into our sport and should not have to be in the situation where they are posting pollution incidents on their blog it is high time something was done to stop this, whether that be harsher financial penalties or educating these companies what damage they are doing but one thing is for sure in this day and age it should not be happening and enough is enough!! Let’s hope there are no reports of fish fatalities from this recent incident.

With that off my chest I will move onto what I was going to talk about on this week’s blog and that was just how being on the bank allows you to witness the subtle changes as we move slowly into spring.  This weekend on the bank we visited a local commercial and as a matured fishery the wildlife was all around us, we had field mice scuttling around in the field behind us, frogs frolicking in the shallows while we also saw our first pair of buzzards of the year riding up high in the mid-day warmth being on the bank this weekend was a real treat to be on the bank and the fishing wasn’t too bad either.

On to the fishing…….

  This week marked the first weekend of the rivers being closed and with so many venues to choose from it was hard to decide where to try but in the end we decided to try a local commercial to give us a much needed confidence boost with our pole fishing as after so many weeks fishing a 17ft rod trotting the river we were understandably rusty.  The fishery we chose to visit was Flushing Meadows where we knew we had a fair chance of a few bites due to its high stocking density.

Like two kids, me and my uncle texted our plans of attack throughout the week in work from castors for the silvers to the secret bigger baits we were going to unleash on the carp population and by Friday afternoon I know I was itching to get on the bank to wet a line.  Friday evening was a really strange experience as well without the pungent smell of hemp cooking on the stove it didn’t feel like the evening before a fishing trip at all and by 7pm I had made a few pole rigs and was all set for the next day’s fishing, full of anticipation.

The alarm clock going off at 6am instead of 3.30am was again another sign the closed season had arrived, although my body didn’t seem to mind the extra few hours in bed, this will of course slowly change week on week as the sunrise gets earlier and earlier and we begin to leave for the bank earlier and earlier to chase those early morning tench in the summer mist.

We arrived on the fishery around 7am and decided to fish the snake lake, a lake my uncle was yet to try, but one I had fished last year and has a lot of success on catching carp, roach, perch, ide and golden orfe.  I chose the swim above and my plan of attack was to fish tight to the point on the far side feeding castor and corn mix up on the top of the shelf.  We honestly had no idea what to expect and how the place fished at this time of year having only fished the place in the height of summer and done really well for all species, today would give us an idea of just how the place fished at this time of year.

My first foray over to the far side saw the float sit there for a while before shooting under and I lifted into my first fish of the closed season, a small roach.

My plan for the day was to feed the swim lightly and try and build the swim up and hopefully attract one or two bigger fish into the swim and if I was really lucky maybe even catch my first carp of the year.

 I introduced a sprinkling of castor via my Cad pot after every fish and every other fish I introduced a few grains of corn into the peg and this saw me picking up a bite every put in with decent roach coming with great regularity.
After around a hour of catching I decided to try corn on the hook and this instantly saw me picking up better quality fish and also some of the skimmer bream that had obviously moved in to hoover up the casters that had made it to the bottom through the hungry pack of roach.

The bites continued to come consistently for both me and my uncle and it was great fishing and by 10am we were already looking at each to thinking just how many fish we had caught, it was crazy fishing if you like silver fishing that is.  It was inevitable that all the food going in was eventually going to attract some better fish and one the day it came in the form of what I call “proper bream” and it is ages since I last caught a “proper bream”.  They of course are not known for their fighting abilities but are a great fish to catch none the less.


As I said the signs of spring where all around us on Saturday and that even showed on the fish with this mature bream being covered in spawning tubercles, a sure fire sign the water is getting to a warm enough level for the fish to begin contemplating spawning.

After this fish i continued to catch fish over the far side while my uncle decided to feed a line closer in and was straight away into roach and skimmers right under his feet on literally his top 2 section on a day that showed me just how many fish these commercial fisheries hold and just how people can win matches on just silver fish alone.

The video below shows just how quick my uncle was catching these fish and this went on for the whole afternoon and this is what you call one a chuck fishing, great fishing.

Not being a person who is slow in coming forward I moved closer in and decided to fish a 2 and 2 line right in front of me bit fed it a little different to my uncle and this saw me picking up less fish than my uncle but when I did catch it was always a decent size fish with the biggest being the bronze bream below.


The afternoon carried on with us both catching fish consistently and the quality of the fish went from strength to strength with quality roach, skimmers, ide and crucian carp all making an appearance.

All in all we packed in at 4.30pm two very happy anglers and I only wish you were allowed to have keep net on this fishery as it would be a monumental sight to see all the fish from that session at the end, my prediction is you would struggle to lift the net come the end of the day and I suppose policing such a rule is difficult for the bailiff of the water as you will always get some people who would put big carp in them but I sure will be enquiring next time we visit to the possibility of being allowed to do so.

I would again like to thank you all for your support in reading the blog and the wonderful emails I receive from people about the blog, thank you so much.

Till next week
Tight lines

Monday, 12 March 2012

Red-fins arrive to give the season a decent send off

In the last few weeks I was contacted via email by a fellow blogger who was contacting me for help in locating a specimen sized dace of over 10oz in weight and asked if I would help him in his quest.  I gladly obliged and gave as much information as I could and agreed to meet up on the banks of the Dee at the weekend.  The person in question writes his own angling blog and what a very good blog it is as well and you can find it here:

I was, as to be expected, very apprehensive about meeting someone I had only talked to over an email on the banks of the river but in the dim light of Saturday morning all those fears went away as I spoke to him about the best pegs for him to try and catch his chosen quarry.  Through out the day I had a few chats with him and what a top bloke he was, very knowledgeable and dedicated to his fishing and I look forward to spending a few days next year on the bank, hopefully when the fish are “having it” and not all up in the water like they where on Saturday, nether the less we almost got to his target with a few fish requiring the weigh bag but alas it wasn’t to be but the most important thing was he enjoyed his trip to the river Dee and vowed to return for that monster dace and all that remains for me to say is good luck with those perch mate!!.

On to this weeks fishing

 This weekend on the bank was as mild as the week leading up to it had been with very little rainfall and really high temperatures for this time of year which nature took no time at all in taking advantage of with daffodils standing proud and the buds on the trees looking ready to burst at any moment it defiantly had the feeling that spring was certainly already here.  The fish of course, who never miss a trick, where all up in the water gorging themselves on a hatch of insects that where being transported down to them in the current.

The sign of fish topping all over the place would usually fill you with confidence for the day ahead but for me it signalled a hard day ahead, ideally you want the fish hard on the bottom taking your loose feed as it reaches them naturally on the current and in theory when you bait arrives trundling along the bottom it looks natural to the fish.  This makes catching them so much easier and reduces the missed bites you get fishing shallow for them.  The fish up in the water in such numbers means this bait is intercepted well before its gets down to your baited area and results in a difficult day on the bank.

Saturday for the main part was tough with fish coming in fits and spurts and not of any real quality to warrant a picture to be taken and this lack of activity and quality was mirrored all around with a number of anglers concluding it was very tough.  It was during one of these barren spells I noticed some predator activity with pike or perch crashing into dace on the surface and chasing them causing some violent bow waves on the top.

I decided to try my arm for a pike as they where obviously active and feeding and introduced a small bait up in the water and was prepared for some instant action what in all honestly was not forthcoming and it was a good hour before the pike float submerged violently I was connected with a small jack of around 5lb that looked to have been feeding well.

A days trotting on the river is a very active and fast paced way of fishing and a lot of the creatures you see through out a day on the river you see but very rarely have the time to capture them on camera, Saturday was slightly different as with a pike bait fishing away I managed to befriend a local bird which took a great liking to the white maggots I threw in its direction, its confidence gained slowly through out the day as he greedily returned for more and more and it was great to help this little guy out who obviously had a mate on a nest somewhere has he often scurried away with a beak full of wrigglers.

Around noon the predicted high tide began to hit and the river began to rise steadily causing a few anglers to be caught short with one angler on the far bank hastily throwing his landing net and gear up the bank to a chorus of unmentionable swear words.  This high tide caused the river to really back up on itself and all bite completely died off as the float refused to trot at all and in some cases flowed back on its self which sometimes can get you a few bites but not on the day.

The day wined on and around 3pm both my uncle and me had a look over to each other and the prospect of packing up and calling it a day was etched on both our faces and almost like a light switch had been turned on our floats began to trundle down stream and we both simultaneously connected with quality roach and this continued for the next hour of so with roach after roach coming to the net and we gave the Dee gave up both a great send off to the season leaving us packing away already itching to get back on her banks.

uncles net:

my net:

We both chatted away about the coming months away form he river and discussed potential venues we would like to try and what we both want to achieve before the river open again. I detailed my ambitious plan last week and hope to make a start on one of those challenges this weekend when I plan to revisit Flushing meadows for the first time this year, weather permitting of course.

Till next time

Tight lines


Monday, 5 March 2012

Pike, Dace and the closed season chase.....

This week the end of the river season has played heavy on my mind and also what targets I want to set myself for the three months the rivers are closed.  I wanted my targets to be achievable and not too taxing as for the fishing to remain enjoying and also I wanted to set myself targets that I see as achievable based on the waters we will be visiting.

It would have been very easy for me to write on here dream targets like catching 250lb of fish in one session or a 30lb plus carp but in reality, given the type of fishing I will be doing these targets are not going to be realistically achievable. 

The targets I have set myself for the closed season are as follows:

1)      A 10lb+ carp:  Venues I will be targeting this fish include cicily mill and rixton as I know both hold a fair amount of these fish over that weight, hopefully luck will be on my side when I visit and I will manage to get one if not I am sure going to have a good time trying.

2)      100lb of carp from Flushing meadows: the venue speaks for itself and I had many good days on here last year but I feel a lot of them lacked direction and I hope this target will help me have more of a purpose when I visit there. No keep nets allowed so I will have to weigh each fish individually and I think this one may be the hardest challenge to achieve.

3)      To try at least one new commercial venue this summer, after breaking my commercial duck last year I want to see what others hold and if they differ much from flushing meadows.

All of the targets above are going to be thought of a side quests to my summer fishing like the 10lb+ pike was on my winter river campaign and at times throughout the summer I will be actively trying to achieve them and if I achieve either of 1 or 2 I will be a happy man indeed.  Until then we have 2 more weeks on the river to look forward too and this week there was only one place you were going to find me and that was on the banks of the River Dee and I would also like to take this opportunity to say again what great reception this blog has received on the bank again this week with two more people approaching me who follow the blog and I hope both did well in their pending river match and their quest for a bin lid bream respectively.

On to this week’s update:

The river this week had an air of change about it and I think the above picture shows it perfectly as the trees bear all the signs of winter being devoid of leaves and bare while the sky behind them is bright blue with a few wisps of white cloud and the changes where all around me on Saturday from the warm breeze to the rough scales of the dace preparing to begin spawning all the changes where all there and the feeling we are slowly moving out of winter was very apparent.

I set up in the same swim as I had last week hoping that the big pike I had been dreaming about all week was waiting for me to catch her and I hastily began to prepare my peg in preparation for mornings trotting and an afternoon hoping for another beautifully marked pike to find my bait. 

When the first rays of light became strong enough for me to see my 6no4 float as I plumed the swim I knew it was nearly time to make that magical first cast of a new session and in the early morning dim light of a new dawn I strained my eyes as my float trundled its way down the swim and I connected with my first dace of the day on my first trot down, always a good sign.

One thing that became very apparent with the increased light was just how much the river had dropped since our last visit a week ago with the level being at least a metre down.  The low conditions meant a trot that last week was medium paced and relatively deep was now quite shallow but amazingly had held the same medium pace it and I wasn’t surprised at all to see the dace where still around. 

I had caught around five or six dace when, as I was lifting a dace out, a big swirl appeared below the fish and I knew in that instance there was a pike around and it was feeding so I quickly grabbed for my pike rod and introduced a bait that just had to entice the pike back as it bobbed and dipped around the swim.  After around five minutes the bait shot into the crystal clear margins at my feet and just behind it a saw a big dark shadow corralling the bait in the edge before in the blink of an eye shooting in and engulfing the bait and showing its true size as it roared off into the middle of the river.

The fight went on for around 5 minutes and the fish was beat and ready to be netted and looked bigger than the 13lb fish from last week but in one final flip it threw the hooks and was gone and I couldn’t help but feel disappointed at such a fish getting away but you have to remember back to the previous week when none of the four escaped capture so I suppose I was due one of them throwing the hooks.

I returned back to my trotting and continued to pick fish up all day sometimes the fishing was one a chuck and others I had to work hard for the bites feathering the bait down the swim almost trying to drop the bait in the dace’s mouth and what again was amazing to see was the diversity in the size of the dace with all year sizes being caught.

By 2pm I had put together a decent bag of dace and I was more than happy with my efforts and decided to weigh my bag of fish and I was again surprised that I had amounted over 10lb of fish again and although it is becoming a regular occurrence now on my days on the river I have to take a moment sometimes and think just how happy I would have been with this bag a year or so ago, it would have been a bag of fish I could only have dreamed of catching and now I had amassed  it with two and a half hours to spare.

After weighing the fish I decided to turn my attention to the part of the day I had been looking forward to all week and that was chasing the impeccably marked pike that reside in the river Dee.  The instant action I had experienced earlier on in the day in the swim was not matched in the afternoon and I spent a barren hour and a half trying to entice a pike from my trotting swim.

I decided to join my dad and uncle in there swim where my dad was picking up some nice dace on the tip and my uncle was, as it’s the norm now, bagging up and making it all look very easy!!

While I was there I thought it would be wrong of me not to drop a bait in next to a sunken tree and I sat back and had a great time fishing with my dad and uncle and I must say the past few weeks my dad hasn’t been coming with us I have missed him being there and it was great to have him back on the bank.

Just when It was approaching the time where you think its not going to happen the float disappeared under and I struck into a pike that although wasn’t in the same league as the morning fish still put up a stink of a fight and had me feathering the clutch as to not let the fish make it to the tree to my right.  Thankfully unlike the morning pike there was no such hook pull and my dad assisted in landing the pike and it was time for its picture to be taken, weighing in at 8lb 4oz it was a decent pike with exquisite markings.

All that was left to do after returning this fish was to try a few swims vacated by the other anglers which didn’t produce and more takes and weigh and picture my uncles net of fish which again was an impressive net of fish weighing in 14lb 14oz and a net to be proud of.

We all thoroughly enjoyed out day on the bank and with only weekend to go now till the close I am determined to get on the river Dane for one last session and the Dee so fingers crossed for a good week weather wise and hopefully next week will see us giving the river a proper send off.

Till next time

I wish you all tight lines