Sunday, 29 September 2013

Maybe Maggots Was Not the Best Idea........

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update.  This week my mind has been switching on to the upcoming start to the traditional pike season which runs from 01st October through to march next year.  In all honesty my relationship with the pike started as a very young boy on the Bridgewater canal where i used to whittle away my afternoons after school whipping the water into a foam with a wide selection of shallow diving plugs, admittedly in those early days I spent more time casting around than catching but the successes I did have live on with me to this day.

I am not going to lie here, although it would be easier to and wax lyrical about my undying love for this species that has lay dormant for years, but the truth of the matter is that these early days taught me the basics of pike fishing like how to handle and work around the dentistry of a pike but it was not till a few years ago when I started river fishing and i began to brush shoulders with the big wild crocodiles that inhabit the river that i began to not only enjoy catching the fish but started to fall in love with their enigmatic personality and their fantastic colourings they have to be one of the most beautiful fish the live in our waters.

This year esox-lucious has crossed my path a few times that has allowed me an insight as to where there are good numbers of pike to be had and none more so than on the Bridgewater canal so apart from my river outings targeting this species i am also going to try and spend some time on the local canals and my aim is to target them with dead baits which again will be a whole new world of discovery or me and as some of you may have guessed over the years i am always trying to improve my angling knowledge and skill in all areas of this fantastic sport we all love.

This week there has been a few things that have taken me away form actually writing this weeks blog well one thing in fact GTA5 cough cough which has meant I am now writing my blog late on a Friday evening whilst now being distracted by Matt Hayes's new 24 hour rod race on Discovery Shed.  I had planned to talk about my plans for this upcoming weekends fishing but after just watching this programme i have got to say how impressed i was by the fact this programme was aired it must have taken a lot of guts for Matt Hayes to go ahead with allowing this programme to be aired given the fact the hour long show see's him struggling in freezing cold conditions with only a few small grayling to show for his efforts.

In these times where angling shows are full of fish after fish being landed making our sport look incredibly easy I think it is truly inspirational for one of the greats of our sport to show that along with all us normal everyday anglers the professionals still have days where they struggle, hats off to you Mr Hayes.  I do understand that this concept does not work week in week out but its great that this series shows a true representation of what the angling year is truly like for an all seasons all weather angler.

I am often asked for hints and tips for people wanting to start up writing a blog and for me personally writing a blog that is successful you have to have a love for the sport and be willing to put a lot of your own time into it as it really does take up a lot more time than you first think when you start writing one.  The blogs that capture me are always the ones that are updated regular whether the catch or blank as i feel more connected with the writer and the fact that when they do succeed me as a reader can fully appreciate the effort that has gone into catching that fish and this is something i always aim to achieve with my blog.

Finally before we get into this weeks fishing i visited Stapley Water gardens today (Sunday) to purchase some supplies for the upcoming season ahead, why not support your local tackle shop? well i do shop at the local tackle shop each week for my bait and bits and bobs but believe it or not one of my local tackle shops no longer supply size 20 hooks as there is no demand for them! So i decided rather than risking being caught short i went to stapley today where i can walk round and try things out, well needless to say i spent more than i intended but the basics where covered!

2 spools of 5lb Drennan Float fish line
1 spool of Bayer Perlon 2lb line
2 paternoster pike rigs
2 x Animal size 18 eyed hooks
4 x Animal size 20 eyed hooks
1 x number 8 weights
1 x number 10 weights
4 floats covering 8 no 4 to `10 no 4
3m landing net pole
and the purchase i did not go for a new Shakespeare reduced form 45.99 to 29.99 :-)

The above should see me through a few months fishing all that remains now is to sort out another bulk buy of hemp seed to see us through the winter and a few more wire traces for the piking and we are all set for the winter season to come.

on to this weeks fishing:

Maybe Maggots Was not the Best Idea...

With our usual haunt the River Dee very much out of sorts we where a bit stuck this week as to where to wet a line it was a real battle between our heads and hearts in a choice of two venues the River we night fished a few weeks ago or the sankey canal in Widnes.  In our heads we knew the sankey canal would see us catching a steady net of fish and no doubt consistently through out the day to boot but our in our hearts we both wanted to fish the river the only down side being the river we where thinking of fishing can be very hit or miss and could see us completely blanking all together. 

We decided to go with our hearts and two pints of maggot and a hemp was purchased but i also popped into my bag a few frozen sprats as last time we had seen a few jack pike patrolling the inside margin so the plan was if one of these turned up we would try and tempt them with a sprat using the sink and draw method.  

We set up in the deeper sections of the river that just screamed out chub and dace and had a good 40-50 yards between our pegs.  We settled down in our swims and i decided to go with my 17ft float rod over my smaller 13ft rod and this was just down the the fact i wanted as much control as possible and to be able to hold that float back hard over my bed of hemp seed this 17ft rod would cover at least half the river but would give me this much needed extra control over the line and float.  With the chance of a barbel and chub and not wanting to loose any fish i hooked i went with my main line all the way through instead of my usually 1lb 7oz hook length i normally use on the river. 

I kicked off the swim with a few good bait droppers full of hemp seed and maggot to make sure i had a decent amount of food on the bottom of the river and began trotting away fishing slightly over depth so the bait trickled along the river bed at a slower speed than the river, this was a method that has worked on this river before so i was confident it would catch me few fish.

The method worked all right and caught me endless amounts of fish the only problem being they were all small "barry minnalows" time and time again the float buried and on the end was one of these small fish.  When you look closely at a minnow its amazing to see just how colourful these fish are i have never really taken the time to take a close look at these smaller species of fish in our rivers they really are a nice looking fish and if they went to a couple of ounces i am sure you would struggle to find a more colourful species of fish swimming in our lakes and rivers. 

I was not too bothered by the minnows as i have fished the River Dane for a few years now and on there you can catch minnows for quite some time and then you will trot through a few times with nothing and you know that a group of chub have moved on so i was working on that principle on this river.  Three hours in and there was no let up on the constant stream of minnows and i was more shocked at not even getting a dace or a perch like i had last time the only consolation i had was if i was getting the minnows i knew i was going down on the same line as my bait and surely it was only a matter of time and with that same thought in my head i thought maybe giving the swim a rest might do the trick so i fed two more droppers of hemp and went to see how my uncle was faring. 

Settling down into my uncles peg with my flask of hot vimto in hand we discussed our predicament as he had experienced the same session as me apart from the fact he had caught a few dace.  It was during our chat we both saw a pike lying towards the bottom of my uncles keep net and then it literally rolled on top of his keep net, never seen a pike literally lying on top of a keep net before, i have seen the attacking the net trying to get at the fish but not just lying on the net, a quick movement from one of us saw the pike shoot off into the river even a jack like this could be the reason the fishing was so slow especially on such a narrow river.  We both decided to give it another hour in the swim before we would consider changing swims. 

Returning back along the path to my swim i glanced through the trees at my box and low and behold sat on my bait waiter as bold as brass was a young robin just helping himself to my box of maggots.  As i approached he nicked one last maggot and made a fast exit from the swim.  As i settled back into my swim this cheeky chap kept on nipping back to my side tray but could i get a picture could i hell as like!  I did manage though over the next hour to get this video of the cheeky chap.

The hour passed with little change so i quickly packed away my gear and got out my pike kit and one of the deadbaits and headed off to my uncles swim.  He had also not had any joy but did say the pike had been about again, he let his fish go and i had a quick 10 minutes trying for the pike, it took two casts to trick the little jack into taking and boy did he fight above his weight! finally on the bank he was a beautifully marked little jack and as you can see from the bottom picture even at this age he is more than equipped for the job of eating other fish.

We moved onto another swim and in this swim we could literally see each other fishing as we where only around 20 yards  apart.  My uncle got the ball rolling with a few grayling and dace and of course more minnows while i had around 10 minutes of catching minnows before i struck into something solid and like an electric shock up my arm i felt the fish kick and go hard for the roots of a tree it did not half wake me up as all morning i had been striking into no resistance so to be smacked round the face with something so solid really took me by surprise.  

i kept the rod low and dipped the tip under the water to reduce the chance of the fish snagging me on any roots and held firm putting my faith in my knots and the size 18 hook on the other end in these situations you have to give no quarter at all and only give line if you really don't feel your gear is going to hold.  The line and hook held and the fish moved slowly into the middle flow and i got a glimpse of a golden flank but not enough to show whether it was a barbel or a chub and with that the fish made another break for the tree roots which luckily i managed to halt and that run seemed to take the fight from the fish and a big pair of white rubber lips surfaced as the chub took a big breath of air and slip over the landing net! on a poor days fishing this was a result and i was made up. 

At a smidgen under 4lb it was not the biggest fish but more than welcome on a day like we had experienced and goes to show a few minutes in the right swim is work more than hours in the wrong one and with that i decided next time we fish this river i am going to be a lot more mobile and fish as many swims as i can during the day as the one swim approach just does not seem the way to go on this river.

Sunday: Rixton clay pits 7am till 12

This weekend i managed to get out on the bank on both Saturday and Sunday which has been unusual for me since the birth of out little girl because i always like to spend the Sunday with the family but this week was different as there was a short window on the Sunday for me to wet a line.

With only a few hours available in the morning i chose to fish rixton clay pits on the pole i fed a line straight out in front on maggot and a swim to the tree line margin to my right where i pinged over the odd few casters.  To be honest the action was slow and it was not till the last hour and a half the bream moved in and i caught the majority of the fish.  I think it was down to using maggot as i have experienced a few times on this water that pinkie can be what they want and they just don't settle on taking maggot and on reflection i am almost certain this was the case on this session as well.

The session was an enjoyable one none the less and it was great to get a few fish on the pole but the session really did fly by and it was time to pack up in no time what so ever.

till next week 

tight lines 


Friday, 20 September 2013

Minke Fishing Tool Review And Bridgewater Canal On the Pole


 “Minke makes threading and tying your hooks simple.  With Built in clippers and a lanyard anchor, it’s the first all-in-one multi-tool which covers all your fishing needs.”

A few weeks ago I was approached by Meso design to see if I would be interested in reviewing a product they have been working on, included in that email was a small presentation on the product show above.  Once the presentation had fished playing I was instantly in love with this product it looked amazing and not only that I knew straight away if it did what it claimed to do it I was looking at a serious bit of kit.
A few days later I came home to the news a small parcel had arrived and opening the product I was firstly impressed with how the product was packaged in a sturdy metal box with a see through front so you could see the fishing tool inside housed snugly in a moulded foam bed.  Flipping the box over revealed a set of easy to diagrams with simple instructions on how to use the tool to tie a hook on.

Opening the box and holding the product for the first time it sat snugly in the hand which for such an unusually shaped object I was surprised at.  It felt well-made and the metallic blue colours coupled with the silver clippers and silver logo on the real made it not only look but also feel the part the only downside I felt was the fact I was due to go on holiday for a week so it would be a week before I could give this tool a work out for the purpose it was made for.

Getting 2 Grip’s with the minke Fishing tool

After returning from holiday I set about getting to grips with learning how to use the tool.  I am a man that has mainly got bye with two knots, a grinner and a Palomar knot so the knot this tool ties, the clinch knot, was a completely new knot for me to learn to tie.  With all stuff that’s new it takes time to learn but I must say I found learning to use this tool really quick and easy and to get to a stage where I could tie without looking at the instructions took around 1.5 hours if I am honest but this is easily less time than if I had been learning this knot without the Minke Fishing Tool.

 Top Tip:- when learning with any knot it  better to use big hooks a line when learning before moving over to smaller hooks and lower diameter lines, it is so much easier to learn.
When using the tool to tie the hooks on I found out just how much work had gone into designing this product
1)      The rubber that holds the hook in place is designed in a way that it will grip any size hook from a number 8 to a small number 18 without letting the bigger hook stretch to rubber too much so the smaller hook slips out.
2)      The hole in the middle of the tool so you can slide the tool in your finger and grip the back of the minke Tool with your thumb gives it plenty of stability for treading the eye and finishing off the knot.
3)      The small recess in the top of the tool allows you to easily thread the line underneath the loops to tie the knot, had this small recess not been there looping the line under would not have been so easy.
4)      The hook eye cleaner on the rear is a touch that shows the designer has thought of common problems faced by anglers tying hooks on the muddy bank side.
These above may all seem link little things but when you notice little things like this it shows the designer has thought and tested the product which I feel I can sometimes question with some products I buy.

Link to slide show of minke tool on website:

My thoughts:
After using the minke fishing tool for the past few weeks I can honestly say I am really impressed with this tool and I still stand by my original thoughts that this tool is going to be really popular once it get released to the general angling public.  Where will this fit into our sport? Many match men carry both a hook tie and a pair of scissors, I can see the benefits it will have for them as they who always looking to save space in their tackle boxes as this tool incorporates both a hook tie and scissors in one handy tool.  I can also see this being a part of a fly angler’s arsenal as well and with the Minkes lanyard top being a big plus point that I think will surely see this tool hanging around a fly angler’s neck whilst they are wading into a stream.  From a personal point of view I can not only see me using this tool each week from now on but can see this tool being a life saver on those freezing cold mornings in winter on the River Dee when the ice and rain leave your fingers far to numb to tie a hook, this simple tool will really come into its own for me then.
The ultimate test of any product /tool/tackle is when you actually get out there to use it and I not only used hooks tied by this tool for the fish in last week’s blog but also for all the fish caught in this week’s below for now but its suffice to say this little tool gets a big thumbs up from me and a big thank you to Meso Design for asking me to review such an innovative and forward thinking product.

The Company currently have the product at a stage where there looking for investment to move it further and
on to this weeks fishing:-

Warrington Anglers Bridgewater Canal Saturday 14th September

It has been some time now since I purchased my MAP TKS 125 13m pole and I have thoroughly enjoyed every session I have been out fishing with it but although I did plenty of research into the pole before purchasing it I was very wet behind the ears when I made choices around what elastics to put in the 2 match kits and 2 power kits and regular readers of my blog will remember I fitted the two Power kits with Black Hydro-elastic and the 2 match kits with Blue and White Hydro-elastic respectively.  I have used these elastics for getting on 2 years and in that time I have developed my knowledge of these elastics by seeing how each elastic performs when handling different size fish and I have noticed the following, 1) I am hardly using the power kits and can count on one hand the amount of sessions I have used them on 2) Although the blue hydro is OK for silvers i find i cant use the white elastic for a second line because it bumps the fish as its too strong.

With this in mind i decided to have a bit of a change around and took the black elastic out of one of the power kits and kitted it up with white hydro elastic on a power kit so this and the black elastic will be my two kits for commercial carp fishing.  I also mentioned above that I have struggled with using the white elastic when silver fishing so have been making do with using the blue elastic and swapping and changing rigs for each different swim so on Friday I went out and purchased a new light elastic for my other match kit and went with a solid Orange Preston number 4 elastic.  This now gives me the option to fish two lines when i fish for silvers and this can be essential on venues like the canal where swims can die quickly.

Friday night was a really busy night for myself but luckily I had wrote last weeks blog in great time so I could dedicate my night to tying up two rigs for the trip to the canal the following morning, armed with the Minke Fishing Tool it did  not take too long.

I have fished the Bridgewater canal the past few weekends but this would be the first full day session we would spend on the canal itself so I spent my time through the week devising a plan for the day and came up with a plan of fishing Dynamite Baits Silver X Ground bait laced with Pinkie down the middle with a choice of pinkie or white maggot as a hook bait and also had a plan to drip feed caster over the far line out of the boat traffic with a plan of fishing down the middle for as long as possible or until the boat traffic made the bites dry up.

Swim selection was another important aspect and as much as the peg from the previous weeks had produced some nice fish i was eager to explore other stretches so we headed for a brand new stretch of canal I had scouted out on Google Earth that just screamed fish with reeds and overhanging trees on the far bank. We both decided though we would use the previous weeks swim as a fall back if the fishing was slow on this new section or the boat traffic really effected things as we knew the other stretch still fished even with heavy boat traffic.

I started of the swim by feeding 4 balls of ground bait laced with pinkie down the middle track and began catapulting caster over to the far side taking care  not to over feed it and settled in on the middle line fishing double pinkie.  The reason for such a small bait was i wanted to judge what was about and wanted a bait that would catch anything from a big bream to a tiny gudgeon and pinkie was the bait for this. The swim started off well with small gudgeon and small perch coming in the early stages but there was some gaps in the sport before normal service of regular bites was resumed and there soon became a pattern of a flurry of small silver fish like gudgeon and small roach being interrupted by a small lull before a few small perch came to the net obviously these little school yard bullies where moving in and out taking control of the swim in typical Sargent like manner.

I continued to feed the far bank swim with caster, only 3 or 4 every ten minutes, the last thing i wanted was to over feed the swim which can be very easy with caster as unlike maggot that can bury themselves in the bottom silt as they wriggle around caster is inert and will remain on the bottom where it is placed so if no fish where feeding on the line i could just have a pile of uneaten caster on the far bank.

The morning drew closer to 8am and i knew that come another hour the first boats of the day would start to trundle through so with the middle swim going through a quiet patch i moved over to my caster line.  Over i went and i straight away began to get indications of fish in the swim which was promising to say the least but my reward was only a small roach from close to the reeds.  I decided to try further out as although it shallowed up considerably i had seen the odd indication of fish over there and to say it was an instant response was an understatement as i struck into a fish that saw the elastic shoot out of the top of the pole at this stage i knew very little on how this new lighter elastic would behave but i guess i was about to find out as the fish that showed itself to be a big bronze bream realised it had a fighting chance and in very un-bream like fashion began to make hard runs for the reeds.  The elastic seemed to have plenty of stretch but got to a point where it began to have some back bone but unlike the hydro-elastic, which i am sure would have pulled the hook by now, it seemed to have that lightness to cushion the runs, i was impressed and slowly i began shipping back as the fish tired and moved into the middle channel and once there it was only a matter of time.

The bream in the onion sack I fed again, knowing these fish where over there i was no the complete opposite of before and worrying if any bait was left! Still i aired on the side of caution and then shipped back over and to my amazement the float sailed away again and i was into another decent size bream that must have been the brother of the previous one only lazier as this bream was under no illusions to what species of fish it was as it came in like a sack of tatters.

The fish joined its shoal mate in the net and i repeated again and went back over the far bank and after a short wait the float slid away and i was into something that was certainly not a bream and from the outset i was sure was one of the chub that are rumoured to populate this area of the canal as it straight away had me in the reeds this was surely going to test everything, my elastic, my hook length knots and that hook tied on with the minke tool, how would it deal when the odds where stacked against it?

I kept the pressure on the fish that i could see was right out the back of the reeds slashing on the top, i was in all kinds of trouble but i kept to what i had learnt over the past few years of pole fishing and kept the pole low and dipped the the under the water to increase the drag on the elastic and it worked as the fish reluctantly came through the reeds and into the main canal.  Once in the main channel it kept deep and hugged the bottom like all better fish do and i did wonder at one stage if i had the power in the elastic to get the fish in but i need not to have worried as the elastic played the fish well and i was more than made up with the elastic and size 16 hook as i slid the net under a clonking canal perch.

I never knew canal fishing could be so prolific but again i went back out and hit another bream that like the fist fought like a demon but like all the previous better fish came into the middle and to the top but just as i was reaching to net the fish the hook pulled and i had to watch the bream slowly swim away.  My dad always said when you lose one of these bream it can kill it on the canal but i thought seen as i had lost it in the middle i might have got away with it but whether it was this lost fish or the fact the boats started to plough through from when i lost the fish but this was the last bite i got on any line for the next 1-2 hours! crazy isn't it feast to famine in the blink of an eye.

We decided to up sticks and move to the swims we had fished the previous week but not before i took a picture of the mornings net

We arrived in the new swims around a hour later and i went with an all out caster approach against the far bank with the hope that keeping the bait well out of he boat lanes.  We both enjoyed a decent afternoon with regular bites but again i landed on the bream with me landing two and suffering a hook pull on a third.  The dreaded pike of the previous week thankfully remained inactive and we packed in around 3pm two happy anglers with our days fishing on the Canal.

my net from the second swim of the day

till next week i hope you enjoyed this weeks blog

and  tight lines


Friday, 13 September 2013

Predators Go mad as Weather Cools

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update and after my week away with my family I feel refreshed and feel my batteries are well and truly recharged.  It has been a manic few months for me from a work point of view with me being heavily involved in a new piece of work that has come into our office and although I feel like I have not really stopped I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge it has posed for myself and how it has taken me right out of my comfort zone as contrary to what you would think from someone who writes a very open and revealing blog on the Internet I am not a confident person when it comes to speaking in front of a group of people and this job has almost pushed me into these scenarios which now its almost over I am really happy about but at the time I found it really stressful.  The holiday we have just been on was always the reward for a long and hard few months work and I thoroughly enjoyed it and apart from relaxing it also gave me the opportunity to spend a full week with my little family as since both me and my fiance work full time its been a long time since we have had every minute of every day to spend with our little girl and without getting too soppy about it all it was amazing.

Cornwall was the destination for our family holiday and we decided to make our base in the sea side town of Newquay, surfing capital of the northern hemisphere it would seem.  We stayed in a hotel right on top of the cliffs overlooking Fistral Beech and we was treated to some of the most beautiful scenery the British isles has to offer with white sandy beaches and clear blue seas by day and romantic sunsets by night.

Newquay was to be our base for the week and although we spent a few days in Newquay we also travelled to some beautiful local towns in Penzance, St Ives and Padstow.  I have to say the relaxed way of life and the beautiful harbour setting of Padstow was the place I personally fell in love with or was that just because of the Fish and Chips?  Some of the places we visited had harbours overlooking crystal clear coastal waters that where just alive with fish from really large shoals of small fish to some bigger fish that lazily cruised the harbour walls.  It did make me think that I should have packed a road and reel with me but in reality I bet those fish are a lot harder to catch than it looks.

The weather when we where down there was delightful as we basked in glorious sunshine for nearly every day of the trip and the bad weather only really started to creep in on the Friday morning as we packed for home.  The journey back up to the North west was long and tiresome with huge queues on both the M6 and M5 but thankfully my years of fishing the River Dane came into fruition as we jumped off the motorway around Middlewich as made our way home through the back roads, see fishing does have its benefits ladies.

I did notice on the way up the motorway just how the seasons are starting to change as the lines of trees started to show the faintest signs of the autumnal colours coming through and this became more and more evident the further north we travelled.  I also noticed it as well as we travelled to my partners mums house as she has a big conker tree in her street and it its branches where laden heavy with conkers, of course these conkers will never be allowed to fall naturally towards the end of September time as the local kids will soon be alleviating the tree of its quarry with a barrage of sticks as soon as they see a glimpse of a half ripe conker, i wonder if they still keep em in jars or vinegar to harden em up :-)

The air of change in the air has already got me thinking of chasing those River and Canal Pike again not forgetting those crisp cold mornings that lie ahead chasing the shoals of dace and chub on the River Dee and River Ribble.  i really do love seeing how the different places i fish change throughout the year and i end this introduction with a picture i took in Autumn last year on the River Dee.

on to this weeks fishing:

River Dee - Saturday 07th September

After arriving back home from Cornwall at around 8pm with approaching 7 hours of driving under my belt saying I was very tired would have been an understatement and in all honesty fishing should have been the last thing on my mind but whether its madness or an addiction I have I crazily set my alarm on my phone for a barmy 3.30am wake up call it really is times like this where i struggle to defend myself against the people who call us anglers mad. 

The River Dee was our chosen destination and arriving at my uncles doorstep at 04.45 i didn't actually feel too bad and was actually quite looking forward to the session ahead.  My plan was to fish the stick float for roach, dace and if i was lucky chub using hemp and maggot as bait.  We arrived at the river to find the banks empty and we had the choice of which swim we wanted to fish and after some deliberation we decided to fish swims we had yet to fish this year to see how they were fishing.  

To cut a long story short on the trotting front it was a terrible mornings fishing with us both scratching around for bites in what was a very out of sorts day on the River Dee.  The fish just where op for it at all and this became even more evident when the match on the other bank kicked off and failed to produce bites for anyone with any regularity.  In these scenarios many reasons are given such as the river needed a good flush through, its not cold enough yet and there is too much bait going in the stretch.  The morning did produce one unusual fish in this palm sized flatty but that was the only fish of note in a net of perch and the odd dace.

I decided not to waste this afternoon and made the decision to become proactive about the situation and if the slow fishing was down to pike I could be missing out.  I quickly tidied up my gear and set up a pike rod with the idea of dropping in a few likely spots on the length to try and winkle out a jack or two.  The bait was a small dace and it was to be fished as close to the snags as i dared to let it, conditions where really good in my opinion for predator fishing as the water had a great clarity to it.

Roaming the stretch produced no sign of a take and i did give each likely looking swim a good 20 minutes or so but alas no pike was forthcoming and i returned to my original peg to settle in for a longer vigil.

After only 5 minutes in the original peg i had some interest on the pike float as the bait quickly darted for the nearside bank, odd i thought as normally the pike do not mess around on this river.  It was not till the fish came close in i saw it was a perch that was eyeing up the bait and continued to watch as the perch corralled the fish into the margins, in my head I was thinking that dace is too much for that but in a split second it had nailed the dace and i struck into the perch.

It would give me great pleasure here to say it was a monumental fight that saw the fish almost escape capture whilst emptying the spool of line but that would be a total lie and the truth is on such heave pike gear it was a short and sweet fight and it wasn't long before the perch was on the unhooking mat, bang on 2lb and not the first good perch I have had from the river dee.

Apart from one aborted take from a small jack pike terrorising the fry shoals that was it for the fishing on Saturday and I left feeling happy i had made the trip out as it was rewarded with such a beautiful perch.

Bridgewater Canal - Warrington Anglers - Sunday 08th September

With the disappointment of the previous days silver fishing and a good pint and half of maggot left over I decided to rise really early and have a few hours till midday fishing the local Bridgewater Canal.  The canal being as urban as it is I never recommend fishing locations like this alone so I managed to persuade my dad to come along for some company and support, not fishing but just there as a friendly companion.  My dad doesn't get on the bank as much any more so it was great to spend a few hours chewing the fat with my old man.

There was definitely a chill in the air and although there was no breeze it was noticeable the drop in temperature form the previous day.  I set up in a the swim i had fished before going to Cornwall and i was really confident of a few bites and as i had fished the swim a few times before i drip feeding the swim as i set up my gear to fish it.  We are hoping to fish the canal this weekend as well so i am thinking of doing a detailed blog on what a session for me is like on my local water.

All set to go I was fishing around 11 metres of pole to a far bank reed bed well out of the boat line as to try and build an area of feed for the fish to settle on.  The first put over and i fully expected the float to go before it even settled but to my amazement the float settled and remained as stationary as the heron working the far bank margin further down the canal, not what i had imagined.  Eventually the float slid away and i lifted into a small fish that within seconds became a much bigger fish, a bigger fish that came into the middle of the canal before releasing its prey, a skimmer with deep cuts down it side, a pike was obviously on the prowl.

I was not here for the pike today so I shipped back out and managed to get a few fish before i then hooked into a slightly better fish and again it all went solid the pike again,  the same pike maybe? and with that it again released the fish.  I again ignored it and went back out but the swim was tone cold dead and all around the area where i was fishing fry where scattering everywhere, not how i imagined the morning would go.

I then remembered i had left my piking gear in my holdall from the previous day so i quickly grabbed it and waited for the next fish.  The intention was never to pike fish but sometimes you just need to move these jacks further along the bank as it was obvious i was not going to catch steady with it around.  The pike on the prowl it did not take long for it to take the bait and before long a nice pike weighing 6.5lb was on the bank.

The fish returned further up the canal i settled back into the swim and began to catch steady then but after around half an hour i lifted into another decent fish that this time went solid again and this felt a better pike which again spat the bait.  The time was 10.30 and i was only fishing till 1 o'clock so i did not reach for the pike rod this time but continued for the silvers and caught steady for the remainder of the session which culminated with the capture of this bronze bream, easily the fish of the session.

The final net was not the big net of silvers I had hoped for but considering the predator activity i think it was a well earned one and i look forward to having another shot at this canal this weekend.

till next time

tight lines


Sunday, 8 September 2013

Itching to go 'Crabbin'

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update and as promised in last weeks blog it is only going to be a quick update rather than a full blog.  I had planned to update the blog on Friday night but i did not get back from our family holiday in Cornwall till 8pm on Friday so it was a quick sleep before heading out very early on Saturday for a much needed fishing fix on the River Dee, more on this weekends fishing in this Fridays update,

I did take delivery of the product that i will be reviewing in the week before i left for Cornwall and i am pleased to announce it is called the Minke Fishing tool.  It is a tool that is used to tie hooks to main line and also trim of any loose ends.  It is a product that only got launched while i was on holiday so i am really excited to have been asked to review this tool and i cant wait to make a start on that this week, look out for more on this item on the blog in the coming weeks.

I did have a last minute urge before we left on Friday to go fishing and i managed to winkle a Friday afternoon off from work.  As time was of the essence it could only be a quick few hours on the local Bridgewater canal, in fact it was the same swim i fished the previous week when we stopped off on the way home form the River Dee.

I have to say it was an enjoyable evening on the canal with plenty of bites and in typical canal fashion i never knew what the next fish was going to be as the pendulum of both fish size and fish species swung from bite to bite.  The crowning glory of the session would have to be the nice bream but i was equally as impressed with the amount of "billy" perch i caught which really wet my appetite for what it could produce come winter time as in my opinion where there are good numbers of small perch there is almost certainly mum and dad lurking in the near by reeds just waiting to be coaxed out by a big fat juicy lob worm.

The final net went just over 9lb and the end and considering how noisy it was on the banks with boats, walkers and joggers i was more than made up with the final net of fish and left for my holidays a happy angler.

Itching To Go 'Crabbin'

I was really tempted to take a rod with me on our holiday but i decided against it as i felt i just needed to break away from the whole mindset of actually going fishing for a week, but as all anglers who are addicted to this never ending search for the holy grail know it was never going to be the case and by the Tuesday i was clucking bit time, i needed a fishy fix :-). I toyed with the idea of going on a 4 hour wreck fishing trip but the more i thought about it i just wasn't feeling it i decided to do a pastime that holds so many happy memories for me from holidays as a kid and that was to go Crabbing!

Now anyone who has tried this knows just how fascinating it is and believe me if you have kids and you want to keep them quiet for not only a few hours but a few days get them a crabbing kit as the time just flies by as you tentatively retrieve your bait to see if any feisty crabs have latched onto your bait.  

Now i have to admit i have been out of the crabbing scene for quite some years now so i was more than i little rusty but i felt i had equipped myself well, armed with 5000mm line down to a french boom to a small section of 100lb mono and a size 2 hook i felt i was more than prepared for my battle with Sebastian's mates.  Now i don't often give many tips out on my blog and i certainly don't like giving any crabbing tips out as we all know a good crabber holds his crabbing secrets close to his chest but i have decided to go public with mine and here it is............BACON!!  God help any pigs that may ever find themselves in our seas, the crabs go mad for the streaky slithers.

So there i was on Padstow Harbour surrounded by hordes of children on the top of their crabbin game, i was not alone though as amongst these crabbing elites was a few more of us old school adults, sorry i rephrase that "Dads teaching their kids crabbing" wink wink.

Ready to wet a crabbing line.

Well all i can say is i have seriously lost my touch as time and time again the crabs kept falling off the line as soon as they left the water!! I felt like i was past it and too old for this crabbing game, it was official crabbing is a young man's game, past it!.  I did however notice one schoolboy error i had made and it was my lack of keeping up with the times as it seems crabbing technology had moved on since my day.  i felt as if i was sat there with a cane rod and a Mitchell reel while all around me my competitors where armed with bite alarms and carbon fibre rods as my eyes where drawn to the nets these whipper snappers where using where the bait sits inside a dropper net so when the crab takes the bait you lift enclosing the crab inside and with that i admitted defeat and exited the harbour.

Alas on reflection i guess i should be happy that the nearest i got to catching crabs in Cornwall was the ones waiting to be cooked in Rick Steins Fish and Chip shop where my trusty Gilly treated me to a moral boosting fish and chip dinner so i guess every cloud has a silver lining.

There will be more on the holiday and this weeks fishing in next weeks update so till then i leave you with a picture of one of the funniest names i have ever seen for a restaurant, i give you Senor Dicks.

Tight crabbing lines