Friday, 29 June 2012

Halfbean Paste First Outing and Mixed Day on The Dee

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update which comes after a week of torrential rain that saw most of the rivers in the North West of England either in full flood or in some cases bursting their banks.  The dangers of being by the river were highlighted all too well by the Environment Agency on Friday night as they released video after video of the River Irwell being turned into a raging brown torrent, a far cry from the placid scenes we are used to seeing. Twitter is a great place to keep up with the work the Environment Agency do and with the current Flood warnings in place as they regularly tweet about both a great tool for keeping abreast of things as they arise.

The fishing this weekend might not have been the best ever but I bumped into a few anglers on the bank this weekend that recognised me from writing the blog, it was great to meet both anglers I had never spoke to before to anglers who I have met previously on the bank and spoke to on Facebook.  It was great too speak to you all and have a nice chat on the bank, I look forward to bumping into you all later on in the season to discuss how we all have got on, anglers truly are a special breed of people and I am still to meet a unhelpful angler on my travels and long may that continue, thanks again to you all.

As well as bumping into to some anglers on the bank on Saturday we also crossed paths with some old feathered friends of the blog in the form of the pair of swans we were following last year.  They did not have any young with them on Saturday but I know exactly where they nest so hopefully when the rivers drop a little whey will get down to building their nest and we will have another generation to follow this year, I just hope the mortality rates of the cygnets is lower this year as a lot of last years brood where lost along the way, the reasons for this are a mystery a lot would say the local mink but I am sure one of the parents would see of a mink with how protective they are of their young, time will tell how they get on this year but I will enjoy keeping up with them again.

On to this weeks fishing:

“Halfbean Carp Hemp Paste Review and Outing”

I start this weeks blog update with a trip that didn’t make last weeks blog due to me concentrating on the opening on the River season and I believed this trip, although short, deserved a bit more than just being a few lines and pictures at the end of last weeks blog update.

I received my first delivery from Halfbean Baits around d 2-3 weeks ago in the package was a tub of Halfbean Carp Hemp paste and a bottle of the Hemp Carp Goop.  I covered what I have been using the Carp Goop for in last weeks update but I have been longing to get out on the banks of my local commercial to give the paste a go.  Unfortunately the bait has sat in my freezer since it arrived as the weather has simply not been warm enough for me to warrant a trip out for the carp.

As you can see from the picture Halfbean baits is a fledgling company so don’t be expecting your bait to arrive covered in logos or spiel around the edges of how this bait will lure fish in from miles around and get them into a “feeding frenzy” that you see on so many baits from the shops.  The bait when it arrives has a very homemade look to it and I must admit to being a bit set back at this at first, but that all changed when I opened up the products.  Obviously as time goes on and the company develops I would expect the quality of the packaging to do so as well but for now I was more bothered in the fish catching potential of this bait.

I will just be covering the Carp hemp paste in this update and upon opening the paste I was amazed just how oily the bait was it was literally oozing with help oil.  Pushing my thumb into the product left an imprint in the paste that soon filled up with the oil, there were certainly no qualms about the quality of the product from my point of view and I couldn’t wait to get out on the bank and try it out.

As I touched on before the weather really hasn’t been up giving this bait a proper review and I am also really struggling at the moment to fit my angling in with all that is going on over the past few weeks.  Knowing how fresh the bait was and the fact I could not see me getting out on the bank any time soon to try it out I quickly dropped the guy an email and he advised that the bait can be frozen and keeps very well indeed, so in the bait freezer it went.

Last Tuesday I received the text I was waiting for that my uncles mate was going to fish the commercial the following evening and with the weather report forecasting bright warm weather the time had come to give the bait a try and this would be my first ever trip fishing paste, it is a bait I have read a lot on but never ever tried so I spent Tuesday afternoon in work mulling over my attack for the next day.

Wednesday in work flew by and I was soon sat on the bank of Flushing Meadows armed with two baits, one a tub of Halfbean Carp paste and the other a pint of hempseed I had prepared the following evening.  My plan was to feed the margin at my feet on my top two sections and introduce the paste via a kinder pot so it didn’t fall off the hook which I read can be a problem with paste.

As you can see I was literally fishing in the edge but in my experience it is a place where if they are having it you can really bag up.  Scanning the water it seemed like all the carp where up on the top basking in the sun which after further inspection into their behaviour soon turned into them chasing around in groups, it was obvious from this the fish were due to spawn any time soon, it was going to be a tough session and my chances of a fish would come as the evening cooled.

It was time to put myself and the product to its first test and it was my tactics that failed for the first hour as I missed bit after bite after bite, the float buried time after time but striking meant a bare hook coming to the top, fish where obviously on the bait but I was doing something wrong indeed a look at my rig and the answer was staring me in the face, size 18 hooks are not the best for paste fishing, so a quick upgrade to a size 14 and an increase in the size of the lumps of paste I was using was made and it was back to it.

The bait when you increased the size of the paste you was using produced a massive slick of oil to come to the top above the swim which I must admit gave me confidence that the bait would be attractive to the carp if they were on the hemp seed I was using to feed.

Not long after making the changes to the hook and the bait the float buried and I was connected with my fist carp of the session so that was the first and most important question I had about the bait answered, does it catch fish?? Yes it does.


The session in reality was more of a learning curve for me in paste fishing as it was a real test for the bait, I missed so many bites and was in hindsight probably striking at liners or smaller fish pecking at the bait.  I ended the session with 5 carp in total on the bank in total which I was really proud of.


In review of the product so far, I was impressed with the quality of the product and the amount of oil it contained.  The fish certainly liked the bait and I can see the bait working on the bigger fish when they get their heads down.  The packaging could be improved and could be seen as a downside by some anglers but it didn’t really bother me once I saw the quality of the bait.  My plans for the future with this bait include using it for future trips to my local commercial and using it as a bait paste wrap for my barbell fishing sessions on the River, so look out for it featuring in my future river articles.

I hope you enjoyed my honest and open review of the bait in the conditions I used it in and I think I covered the good in the product and where it could improve a link to the halfbean baits website can be found in the right hand side of my blog so please feel free to check out these products and the other products in his range.

“Ruffe Conditions on the Dee

With reports coming in all Friday night of rivers around the northwest bursting their banks I spent most of the night, after I had cooked my hemp, with my eyes fixed on the EA site waiting for an update on what the River Dee was up too.  The final report came in around 10pm showing the Dee was high but no where near the level as the previous week and with no flood warnings in operation it seemed the EA where confident she wasn’t going to rise too much over the next few hours.  Confident we would find somewhere to fish we set off determined to fish our beloved river dee if it killed us.
As normal with our river fishing it was a very early start and we arrived at our destination to find only one car parked up.  When the river is in this state where it is carrying a fair bit of water safety has to come into it so we chose a venue with good pegs and safe banks to reduce the risk of us encountering any problems, gear was kept to a minimum on the actual peg just in case the unthinkable happened and we needed to vacate the peg quickly.

In all honesty we fished for around 4 or 5 hours with next to nothing to show, the river was really deep and although we could fish on the bottom with our long rods there just wasn’t a steady trot to go down, the flow kept changing and it made fishing really difficult.  I changed over to the feeder for the last hour and picked up a nice roach and what has been later confirmed as a specimen size Ruffe.

Nine o’clock arrived and after a long, informative chat with the guy pike fishing the next peg we decided a move was in order to at least try and find a steady bit of water.  We arrived at another local venue on the Dee and decided to fish one of the tributaries that run into the Dee to see if there was any fish about. 

The trot was long enough for us both to get a line in and leave a decent trot for the upstream rod.  The bank side foliage was “pruned” to make enough room to sneak my basket in and I was away.  The first 30 minutes passed by with not much action but eventually we started to get a few fish with dace coming to the net first but there was a long wait between bites, It really didn’t bother me though as I was just glad to be picking up a few fish and have a trot where I knew the bait was going down in a straight line and not being taken in all directions like on the last peg.

I took a few more small dace and a nice roach/skimmer bream hybrid and I decided to increase the amount of bait I was introducing which saw a few chublets turn up in our catches, only a few ounces but I was more than pleased to see them on such a drab day.

As you expect with the river sport got better as more bait went in my Uncle had a few grayling and chublets to supplement his dace captures along with the obligatory pike turning up as well taking one of his fish as he was bringing it in, only a small jack but these fish find us wherever we go on the dee it seems, summer or winter.

The day wore on and after a chat with the two anglers I mentioned earlier on in the piece I connected with my best fish of the day in a small brown trout which no doubt had latched on to the increased bait being introduced into the swim.

All in all it was great to be back on the banks of the river Dee catching some fish and what this net lacked in quantity and quality it certainly made up for in diversity it was a real mixed bag of species including dace, roach, roach skimmer hybrid, chublets, grayling and trout.


This week will hopefully see me fishing the canal for carp in the spot I have been drip feeding now for 3 weeks so I have my fingers crossed for a result there, check my mini blog for information on that and all being well we should be back on the river as well this weekend, weather permitting.

Till next time I wish you all,

Tight lines


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