Sunday, 23 March 2014

Pole Fishing: Trent and Mersey Canal, New Carp Quest and Beechwood Baits Sponsorship

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update.  This time between the end of the river season and the start of our  steady warmer spring temperatures is always a tough period on the bank and the quality of a days fishing can hang on the arrival of a sudden overnight frost,  one thing that can always be guaranteed during the first week after the rivers close is that all the rivers across the country will be in mint condition, just the way it is i guess.  The dee graph below you can see the dee at the most consistent levels it has been all last season.

In this week's blog I am excited to announce that I will be writing another Carp Quest mini blog beginning at the end of this month.  I have given this plenty of thought over the past month or so as to what the actual target will be in this quest and i have decided to stray away from the obvious progression from a 10lb fish to a 15lb specimen and set this quests challenge as a quest for a new personal best fish, so that will mean a fish of over 10lb 3oz.  I think it is always best to be realistic when setting goals and not to be disillusioned with your actual angling ability and of course the realistic chances of the waters you fish giving you a good chance of achieving the goal e.g it would be easy for me to say right this quests goal is a 20lb fish yet in reality on most waters there might be only be 1 or 2 fish at this weight.  You also have to weigh up the amount of time you can actual put towards this challenge where run in line with my normal weekly outings.    I will be going into more detail about lessons learnt from the last quest in the introduction of this years quest.

I am also really excited to announce that this quest will be sponsored by BEECHWOOD BAITS and will see me fishing with their flagship Musselberry Boilies.  I must admit I am really excited to work alongside with this bait company on this quest.  I have been writing this blog for a few years now and over that time i have had a few companies contact me asking if I would like to have my main blog sponsored by them and I have always politely declined but with Beechwood Baits it was altogether different.  The company has been founded by Gavin Astley a person I have known since i started writing this blog and is a person i have spoke to over the years on a number of occasions about all Warrington Waters, his whole manner, understanding, how he presented his company and his knowledge of my carp fishing background made me feel really at ease talking to him about the prospect of working together and in reality made the decision to accept an easy one and already before any bait has exchanged hands or any mention of his company on my blog he has helped me out tremendously through our PM's, so here is to the adventures to come!!

You can find more info on the bait and about its developer here: Beechwood Baits

"The Musselberry! A super high quality, HNV milk protein carp bait boilie! At Beechwood baits we are very proud to introduce to you the culmination of a long journey through research, development and testing. The Musselberry is our first carp bait released, and is available for everyone to have success with. If you were to trace this baits beginnings back to its conception, you'd be looking almost a decade into the past. Development has seriously ramped up over the last two years, along with some intensive, real world fishing situation testing"

There will be more on the quest closer its launch but look out for the first instalment in the coming weeks where i will look more in depth at locations i intend to fish and my tactics i am hoping will score me a new personal best.

This week i read with great interest a story in the local Weekly news around the success of a local angling club, West Bank Anglers.  This angling club was born from a natural disaster that hit the square in spike island a year or so ago when an algal bloom led to a total fish kill in this shallow pool that lies right next to the Sankey Canal.  It is no secret that carp, silver fish and pike caught from the sankey canal were transferred into this pool over the years and during that time this water was netted many times by Warrington Anglers and the fish moved not into the sankey canal but to other Warrington Waters so I personally think it is great that a club has taken ownership of this water and the fish that will live in there.  Reading the story it seems like there has already been a lot of work done cutting back the reeds and building fishing platforms, with this water being quite small i guess making the most of the available space is a must and i am sure the stocking of this water will be as well managed as the planning this year has been by this club.  Good luck to all involved and who knows where this may lead in time, licences can be purchased from any local tackle shops.

Finally before we get into this weeks fishing I took delivery this week of a rather large parcel for a future product review on the blog and with it will run a Facebook competition to win a free product for the winner, so look out for more on this in a future blog update but needless to say its a busy time with the blog at the moment away form the bank and with this quest about to hit the ground its not looking like slowing down as pre baiting and late night sessions will come into play as the evenings lengthen.

And with that its onto this weeks fishing:

Canal Fishing: Pole fishing Trent and Mersey Canal - The Old Broken Cross

As mentioned earlier on in the blog update this time of year after the rivers closing and the warm settled temperatures arriving can be quite difficult with certain waters starting to produce before others, knowing your waters here and locations can be worth its weight in gold.  With funds for my Warrington Anglers licence thin on the ground we did not have a great deal of waters to chose from, certainly ones we had fished before at least, had we purchased our Warrington Card we would have certainly been visiting Rixton Clay pits or the Bridgewater canal but with those off our radars we settled off for a session on the Trent and Mersey Canal on the Broken Cross stretch.

a quick look the night before on the Internet threw up some bits of information around it being a popular stretch for matches to be held on and also with a pub alongside the actual canal there was a lot of reports saying to avoid this area due to the numbers of boats mooring at the pub during the day.  We had just finished out river campaign the previous week so we were a little under equipped to deal with a session on the canal for example we were fishing with 1lb7oz line as opposed to the normal 1lb bottom we fish in the canals and we also had a slice of bad luck on the bait front as the local tackle shop had run out of pinkie so we had to fish with maggot on the hook and as feed which wasn't ideal.

We arrived at the pub which is literally on the canal and began to have a look at the canal in the early morning light, she looked well coloured, which is a good thing in my opinion and along one stretch there were a few fish topping close up to some far bank brambles but there was already a gentle breeze blowing along the canal.  This breeze was causing a very inviting ripple along the same beat as the fish were topping so we settled on fishing there and set up the customary 12 yards apart.

I began setting up my pole to fish the far bank shelf and this is when i hit a problem, my last section of pole and my number 8 section were locked together tight, this must have been form our last session on the river weaver when it rained but thee was nothing getting them apart  so i had to fish just at the bottom of the far bank shelf.

As with all canal fishing its got to be scaled right back and your tactics have to be a refined as possible, there was nothing i could do about the pole or the line thickness but i could refine my baiting up and my ground bait.  I decided on the day to feed a very wet sloppy ground bait going for attraction but not to feed the fish that i still thought could be quite lethargic due to an over night frost.

Due to a afternoon commitment we only had from 7am till noon to fish so if the fishing was slow we only had a few hours to endure it.  Shipping out to around 10-11m i fed the swim with a cad point before laying the float delicately to ensure the bait fluttered slowly down to the bottom.  My uncle was first into a fish, a small roach tight against the far brambles while i waited just a little bit longer before picking up one of my own.

My uncle continued to pick up small gudgeon on the far bank and the odd small roach while i landed on a swim full of gudgeon it seemed as one after another these bottom sucking fish came to a single maggot approach, some of them where so small the maggot was close to having them in a headlock.

The session continued to move along and my uncle, tired of shipping to the far bank for gudgeon tried to get a swim going closer in while my far line completely died, bigger fish moved in i thought.  Full of optimism i waited it out on the far line convinced something better had pushed the tiny gudgeon out and my patience was rewarded with this beautifully marked and very fat, with spawn?, perch.

After this perch the gudgeon moved back in as did the odd roach and i continued to get bite regular for the next hour or so as the swim ticked over and as it did i heard another familiar ticking noise,a barges engine ticking over.  On canals where there is so much boat traffic it does nothing to the fishing at all, normally, but as my line was right in the boats tack line it was bound to have an effect.  To those not into their canal fishing my tactic on them is to always try and fish a line out of the main line as this gives you a better chance to build a swim without the boats spreading your feed everywhere, with a few sections of pole short i did  not have this luxury.

The swim ground slowly to a halt for the last hour and had i been staying past dinner i would have certainly primed two swims earlier on in the day to move on but with only a bit of time left i say it out on a bigger bait for a better fish that never came.   The final joint net of what i would describe as an nice day on the bank, certainly better than being stuck in the house that's for sure.   During this last hour a flock of sheep made their way down the hill in the field across the road and the ewes all followed closely by their lambs, spring is certainly arriving now and with that i headed home for my Sunday dinner, chicken this time but the lamb Sunday dinner is not far away now.

The landing nets drying behind us we had a slow pack away and was treated to a pair of swans cruising down the canal no doubt searching for a location to start preparing a nest if they have not done so already.

Till next time i leave you with a picture of these pair of elegant birds.

Tight lines


Sunday, 16 March 2014

Stick Float Fishing: River Dane Chub

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update.  This week saw the river season coming to its end and as it is with most years the last few weeks leading up to March 15th can bring some of the best fishing of the year, this year probably more so as the months of flooding have saw the fish more spread out that years when we have a settled cold winter.

Rivers in there nature are ever changing from season to season but the picture below shows just how dramatic changes on the River can be.  The picture below shows the same stretch of the River Severn a month apart, in one the river is in full flood, over her banks and in the town and fields yet only a month later all that is left to suggest of the devastation before is the dirty water line marks on the local buildings.  Again a picture that should act as warning to any new member to river angling of how powerful and deadly a tranquil looking river can be.  Thanks to @DaveThroupEA for permission to use hos picture.

Many people worry about the welfare of the fish in these times of flood and you do read comments along the lines of "these floods will ruin our rivers as it will see many thousands of fish washed out to sea."  In my own personal opinion i don't believe this is to be the case and i think the biggest threat to the fish in these floods comes from getting stuck in fields as the river drops after the rains stop, an example of this was on the river Severn where a large shoal of roach became trapped in the racecourse after the river dropped.  I believe many fish just move into the slacks behind trees and most probably feed quite well on the influx of food washed in off submerged trees and bushes, we know barbel given the right temperatures go on the feed hard during floods so it makes sense that all other fish will find food.  Lets not forget as well that these fish in rivers are against the flow their whole lives so them being washed away is very unlikely.

Fish also have great adaptation powers as no sooner have our rivers got out of flood, some like the Dee are still carrying extra water, that the fish are getting ready to or have recently spawned, dace i caught in this weeks blog where either really slimy of rough as sandpaper to the touch a sure sign they are about to or have recently spawned.

This time of year i normally do a recap on the highlights of the river season but with these floods it would in effect be a recap of all my river sessions what with missing 3 months of fishing.  I would say these past two weeks have been one of the biggest highlights in my short river fishing career, certainly since learning how to trot and catch dace on the River Dee, as joining this new club in Northwich Anglers has really got me excited about the future of my river fishing and gives me so much opportunity to target so many different species only a short drive from my home.  My head at the moment is literally full of all types of fishing opportunities i can explore from pike fishing the river weaver in winter to maybe hunting down my first river dane barbel, next season holds so much promise.

Looking forward a little bit to the next 3 months and up to autumn winter i will be running another Quest on the blog, i am unsure if it will be under a separate heading yet or whether it will make up part of my weekly blog updates but it is certainly going to revolve around the hunt for a new personal best carp and hopefully will lead to me catching my biggest ever fish of any species on the bank, its sure to be a great adventure and i hope it ends as well as the last quest.  I will be going more in detail on this in next weeks blog where i will be outlining my challenge, info on some locations and my thoughts on how i am going to go about it.

Here is the last Quest to catch a 10lb Carp:

If you enjoy the blog and would like to keep up with my sessions as they happen and my day to musings on all things angling you can keep up with the blog on both Twitter at @satonmyperch or on Facebook on the following link:  I see these social media arms of the blog as a great way for any readers of the blog to ask questions and post their captures from the bank so feel free to follow or like the page and let me know how your fishing is going.

And with that its onto this weeks fishing:

Sunday:  Stick float fishing on the River Dane:  The hook length tying KING :-/

Sunday morning and with a slight rise in river levels on the River Dee we again decided on visiting the tiny intimate River Dane, after last weeks half day session where we banked a few chublets who could blame us.  As with all our fishing we take turns fishing areas we know are good so if there is a peg that is notorious for being a good peg we will always take turns in fishing it from visit to visit.  On this session my uncle let me have a go in the swim he had done well in on our previous trip while my uncle dropped in a swim downstream.

The swims on this river are a far cry from the comfy pegs of the weaver but as a seasoned river dee angler you kind of expect to have to "adapt" you swim to fit all you essentials into it.  The Dane for me is synonymous with the smell of flowers and almost tropical humidity as you sit amongst the brambles and later on in the year Himalayan balsam and its this that once set up you take a breath before making your first cast and you know your on the banks of the river Dane.

My set up for the day was my 17ft carbon active float rod in conjunction with my blue Shakespeare reel loaded with 4.5lb drennan float fish line on which perched a Dave Harrell 10 number 4 stick float down to a size 18 kamasan animal hook, as simple as it comes, bait wise was my trust two pints of maggots and a pint of home cooked hemp seed.

As always while setting up i was introducing some freebies down the swim and after a quick chat with my uncle about snags he had found the previous week and areas to avoid (so valuable to have this insight) i was all set to go.  My first cast down and right over my hemp the float buried and i was into my first chub of the day, after a week in work and the warmth of the sun just beginning to break through it was a welcome bend in my rod.

A great start to the session and i was optimistic for the session ahead.  A few more trots down resulted in a dace and small chublets and i was starting to think i was in for a extraordinary session indeed.  The next trot down and no bites came over the area i was getting them so i ventured further down the swim and the float buried, striking i felt solid resistance, too solid to be a fish and sure enough my first snag of the day, o well i thought just avoid that area.  I had tied 5 hook lengths the night before the trip and over the next hour or so preceded to loose all 5 on snags at different points in the swim.  In total i had one right out in front of me cutting off the far bank run, casting further down stream below snag resulted in hitting a snag down the far bank and the inside line had a hum dinger of a snag along it meaning to inside line was a no go and any trot down the middle was like playing snag roulette, too far inside and it was hook length tying time again.

It got the the stage where if i got down the swim i was hitting fish but beyond a point it became not worth the risk so it was all or nothing on one area of the swim and frankly once the bites died in this area it was a long wait for them to come back up the swim, in fact it was a long, frustrating day full stop as i knew i was in a swim full of fish.  After snagging up again enough was enough and out came the feeder rod and i sat the last two hours out on that over my bed of hemp where i put together a few nice roach.

My uncle further downstream had a cracker of a day putting together a bumper net of chub, roach and dace topping the scales at 16lb and it was only the reflection of the sun on the water that made it impossible to see his bites that caused him to pack in early or i am sure he would have broke the 20lb mark. I finished with around 5-6lb of fish, great to be out and i can now tie hooks on in my sleep.

uncles net

my net

Tuesday: Stick Float Fishing on the River Dane:  Score to Settle and my luck changes

Monday saw me on a days pre booked annual leave as me and the family visited Chester Zoo, a trip we make every year and one that sees me not sleeping the night before with excitement, ever since a kid i have loved the place and year on year it just keeps on building and improving and improving, i have to say i love the place.  Last year they replaced the loss of the Sea Lions with giant otters and try as i must last year i could not catch a glimpse of them, well this year was different as they put on one almighty show for me, boy are they loud and i dread to think what the angling world would make it one of these super charged otters was seen on one of our rivers.

The weather was beautiful and the recent warm temperatures where evident in most of the wildlife basking int he sun, now most would post a picture of lions here but not me i love those little corners of the zoo and peeking in the moats that surround the exhibits, upon looking in one i came across this carp basking, a sure sign its time to take down those pike rods and out with the carp gear.

During the day the disappointment of how badly i had done on the Sunday was running through my mind and whilst walking through the bat cave i bit the bullet and promptly rang work to book a days leave for the following day and also put a call into my dad to pick me up a pint of maggots to top up the half pint i had left from Sunday.

Tuesday morning and i had in my mind to fish the river dee as she looked in good nick on the charts so off i travelled into the night and just as day broke i arrived and set up in a popular area for dace.  It wasn't until around a hour in i realised i had not set up my landing net and a quick check in the net bag revealed it to be absent and it hit me like a brick i had hung it in a tree to dry on the River dane and i had left it.

To this point i had caught one dace and around 20 of these salmon smelts, not my intended quarry at all and knowing how they can eat it was decision time, i had in the back of my head that i was knackered if i hit anything decent or a pike moved in as i wouldn't be able to try for it to move it on so at 7.30am i took the decision to nip back home to puck up another landing net and then make the short trip to the dane.

Arriving on the banks of the Dane my luck instantly changed as there in the tree where i had left it was my landing net, all 25 quids worth of her, i was over the moon and was one very very lucky angler indeed.   I quickly checked the swim availability situation before plonking my gear down on a nice comfy peg with a gentle glide down to shallower water.  Set up was my 17ft float rod and a dave harrell 8 number 4 stick float with a size 18 hook, i knew chub would be on the agenda but i have never been a fan of big hooks for trotting for chub and i wanted to give myself every chance of catching every species of fish.

A quick glance at my watch, 9am, i had made good time from Wales to home and then to the dane so with the sun on my face i made my first cast.  Bites came pretty much from the off with small chublets greedily gobbling up my free offerings, easily distinguishable from the dace by their XXL mouths. Eventually some better fish moved in and first was this heavily spawn laden dace, my green t-shirt reflecting in its mirror like scales, can you beat a hand full of dace.

The swim went through a major lull around 11am till 1pm where i could not buy a bite only the odd small chublet right down the swim, on the dee you would swear a pike but on the dane it normally means decent fish have moved in and this is where the beauty of the river comes in, on a still water you know its either carp, perch or bream but on a river it could be barbel, chub, bream, perch or carp.  I carried on persevering and then right on my hemp i struck into a solid fish that moved slowly over to the far bank before making hard runs for a snag under my feet, as it did so i knew it was came over if it made it so i quickly moved down the bank giving it side strain to pull it down stream.

The fish came up to the surface and its bronze flanks shimmered in the afternoon sun revealing itself to be a chub and one of the better ones of recent sessions.  In the net she went 1lb 10oz, not the monsters you get further upstream but there about on there that's for sure.

As soon as this fish hit the net the bites where back and instantly i was into more dace and chublets which kept the swim ticking over nicely and with the sun just becoming a problem with glare on the water i began to pick up some nice roach which just tipped off a nice days trotting and trip well.

The sun on the water made fishing impossible as seeing the float past a few feet down the swim was a striking lottery of when you thought the float had gone under, not ideal for good presentation or striking shy biting roach, so conscious i had work the next day i called it a day and was more than happy with the net of roach, chub and dace i put together of just under 10lb.

till next week its tight lines from me,


Friday, 7 March 2014

River Fishing: River Weaver Roach and River Dane Chub

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update.  I have started in past weeks to upload all the pictures form each weeks blog on to the blogs Facebook page both to help back up the images and also provide a place for all the different types of my fishing to be kept in an organised fashion, all pictures have the blog post they relate to posted beneath them so should you want to see how the session went and the story behind the pictures its just a simple click away.  If you are on Facebook and want to take advantage of this of just want to follow my exploits on the bank as they happen the link is below.

Dannys Angling Blog Facebook Page:

There is a very interesting competition as well coming up in the next few weeks so if you are keen into you photography then its a good place to check out for a exciting competition i will be running in the near future, more of that in the coming weeks.

Dead Baiting for Pike - The Journey And The Lessons Learnt

I like to think of this blog as a honest and frank account of my angling, good times and the bad whilst incorporating my own honest views and opinions on the fishing sessions i do so i thought it would be a good idea in  this weeks introduction to summarise  the past few weeks dead baiting for pike and the lessons i have learnt along the way.

My adventure into the world of dead baiting for pike began only 3 months ago and for the first two weeks it was a steep learning curve with many hours spent on the bank with not a single sign of a run and i must admit i adopted a chuck it and chance it mentality relying on spots i had seen pike activity months earlier and expecting the pike to hunt out my bait no matter where i placed it.

The next week and with two weeks of blanks under my belt and getting close to 20 hours worth of pike fishing into my journey I was determined as ever to accomplish my target of one pike on a dead bait and i guess at this point it would be a time where it would be easier to call it a day and move onto something new but I had the grit between my teeth and I could feel be beginning to fall in love with the mystery of dead baiting for pike.  At this point i did begin to question if my tactics where right and a chance conversation with Garry, a seasoned piker, gave me a great deal of confidence to know that what i was doing was right.

This confidence boost along with a few tips gave me a added sense of expectation on my next trip and it was rewarded with 6 runs and 5 fish on the bank and the next day what i saw as my first proper pike of this dead baiting in a fish of over 8lb.   Returning to this same place the next week i was fortunate enough to land my first double figure stillwater pike of just over 10lb, i was on cloud 9.    The next week saw me struggle for a bit in horrendous winds but using a bit of water craft i winked out a fish to save a blank.

This session led onto what i see as the height of the dead baiting in a social session with Garry and Ste, a session that surpassed all my expectations with us all catching and for myself personally a fish i never thought i would get near this year in a new personal best still water pike of 13lb 8oz.  At this point i was overcome with all things piking it was on my mind 24/7 and it saw me on the bank at every opportunity even of it was just a few hours after work, many of these short session resulting in runs and the odd fish on the bank and it was a great feeling to know i had gone from a angler who did not have a clue to a stage where i was expecting to catch.

So what have i learnt? well these weeks pike fishing have certainly taught me patience as after what has been a good few years trotting for dace and chub waiting hours for a bite i did find hard at first and struggled at times to keep focused.  Time on the bank dedicated to piking has allowed me to judge just how long to give each spot before moving on and what spots have more potential than others for producing pike.  Dedication and putting in the hours is something i feel i never lack but this time has taught me to spend time productively by mapping out depths as finding deeper water or slight depressions can make all the difference with this game and of course always remembering that what is below the water is just as important as the features you can see above it.

Bait wise i have to say i have been very fortunate as i have caught on a wide variety of baits so do not feel attached to one bait in particular which i can see being an easy trap to fall into.  During my time piking this year i have caught fish on Sprats, Mackerel, Sardine, Herring and Smelt.  There are many opinions on the nature of pike but in my opinion they have set feeding spells where all fish in a local area switch on, using two rods i have say there too many times with no action and then had almost simultaneous bites on both rods, i know this is not my own discovery i mean it more as i subscribe to the theory.

Looking towards next year, yes i am already thinking about it, i am certainly looking at refining my approaches and being better equipped on the bank, a bigger deeper landing net is a must have along with a decent weigh sling, aside form these i will certainly be making my own traces next year and with my first attempt not looking too shabby i have to say i am looking forward to catching a pike on my own traces.  Researching piking has got my head full of refinements i want to make and next year i will certainly  be looking to experiment with adding fish oils to my baits but above all else there is one area i need to improve on dramatically and that is converting runs into fish on the bank i have lost as many pike as I have caught and this is something i am hoping refining my own rigs with my choice of hooks will help reduce.

Well i hope you have enjoyed reading about my piking this winter as much as i have enjoyed the challenge of catching the fish and with that we move onto the fishing i have done this week. .

Wednesday 3.30pm-6.30pm - Dead baiting For Pike - End of the Road??

Sat in work i could hear the pike clock ticking down and with a sharp frost hitting for two mornings solid i knew come the evening temperatures would again plummet down towards freezing, an opportunity not to be missed.  A quick text to Garry and a meet up time was arranged to fish from 4pm till dark in the hope of a last gasp end of season pike.  I was first to arrive and had a cheeky chuck in the snag swim hoping to pick up a quick bite but with now action coming in 15 minutes i promptly left the swim for Garry when he arrived, a popular pike hot spot i had fished on our last trip it was only right for him to fish it this time.  I moved along a settled into a deep run along a set of reeds with one herring bait presented on the bottom and another sprat presented off bottom to drift slowly.

There was no action from casting till around 20 minutes later when Garry arrived and settled into the snag swim so it was time for a recast and a quick chat.  The conversation, always fishing related how i like it, was centred around the thought that the fish had moved off to spawn, whilst talking i am always aware of the two rods in the water and i guess watching to pikers chatting you could be forgiving for thinking they don't get on how ignorant they look always looking away when the others talking, it was during one of these glances i noticed a slight dip on my sprat bait rod.

A short stroll along to the swim confirmed the interest which had gone from a few dips to the float beginning to move along the top.  The float never went under instead just bobbed along the top which normally is a sure sign that its a small jack that has taken the bait, i gave it as long as i dared before setting the hooks.  The fish came instantly to the top, a tiny jack around 3lb wet, not the pike i had come for but still it was a fish on the bank.

The baits returned it was a good hour or so of inactivity as we moved into dusk before any more action with my right hand herring bait moving lazily into the middle channel in a very positive way indeed, a strong strike was met with resistance of what felt a nice fish before as soon as the battle had got going the bait came back at me, dam, another lost fish to add to the list and certainly food for thought for next season.

In hindsight i should have changed my hooks there and then but in the heat of the moment i cast straight back out as we was well on the way into dark now and i didn't want to miss a moment as it felt bang on for a bite.  The minutes passed by and Garry moved up from his snag swim for the final 20 minutes of the session, two anglers hooked on their angling sat in the darkness squinting to see the pike floats, its safe to say we stuck it out till the last.   Right on last knockings we were just ready to reel in when i said i am going to give it 10 more minutes as i felt it was going to go, it just felt right and bang on queue the left hand rod slid away.  The bite was again a solid run and i left the float to slide away before setting the hooks, striking hard i was amazed as the rod hooped over and all hell broke loose as the pike jumped clear of the water in the reeds putting up one hell of a fight, moving closer in hugging the bottom it felt a very nice fish indeed, shaking its head in defiance sent shock waves up my arm as it felt like the fish had come off time and time again.  Eventually the fish came to the surface and revealed itself to be a pike between 7-10lb i would estimate coming towards the waiting net he had one final head shake and with that spat the hooks!!, i was absolutely gutted i have to say and as i mentioned above the losing of fish after striking is something i need to look into for next years campaign.

That was it for the fishing as we packed away and walked back to the cars and as i did a strange feeling came over, a strange feeling of the end, as if i knew that was it for the pike fishing and would be the last time i would be visiting this location this season, it felt the right time to call time on the deadbaiitng, for this year. 

Sunday Morning 6am-12am - Pole Fishing The River Weaver

Saturday morning saw us visiting Atomic Baits Angling Shop in Northwich to purchase our Northwich Anglers Licences for the coming year and to pick up some bait for our session the following day, as always my order was 2 pints of white and a bag of uncooked hemp.  After purchasing the licences we headed off to look at some of the stretches on the card, first was the River Dane.  The river dane in general does not receive a great deal of angling pressure and as such a lot of the stretches, barring the popular cotton and manor farm areas around Holmes Chapel, are quite over grown and its a case of making a swim when you arrive, certainly not a place for anyone looking for the luxury of pallet pegs and sausage barms delivered to your peg.  I guess you ever like it or hate it but i guess the fact i love the naturalistic nature of the river dane and river fishing in general is why i love it and walking her banks most would have seen a wall of trees and brambles but to the keen eye it looked like an anglers Paradise of hidden overgrown swims and unpressurised fishing.

We next moved onto the River Weaver to take a look at what this had to offer and was instantly amazed at the organisation of this club as a good mile or so of river had a drivable road and three spacious car parks situated all along its length, a far cry from the roads you see on Warrington Anglers rivers.  Driving to the top end of the stretch i was taken back by how beautiful the place looked, this was enhanced by the fact there was not a breath of wind and their was still reminiscences of a overnight frost to set the scene off nicely.   In truth the weaver is about as cushy as river fishing gets as you could literally fish out of your car window the pegs are that close to the car park, i was dying to wet a line and even more so when i spoke to an angler fishing who had already had a few fish. Below is a picture of the River Weaver all the picture i took on the morning will be uploaded to the Blogs Facebook page tonight.

This seasons river fishing really has been a case of feast or famine as on Saturday morning we sat in my uncles plotting our trip and we were really stuck with what to do, do we go the River Dee for dace and risk the expected tides ruining the session, go the dane to assess the potential for chub and dace or go the Weaver for a real taste of the unknown.  The River Dee was really touch and go as it was already over the ideal level we have set for trips there and the tide coming would only increase these levels, this along with local reports the river was well coloured and debris coming down saw us drop this as an option and we settled on a plan of setting up on the Weaver with a view of packing in midday and heading the Dane for the last few hours, two birds with one stone.  The picture below is a sight and smell i was not expecting to experience again this season as I set about preparing my hemp for the session the following day.

Arriving at the car park on the Weaver we could see the river looked just as beautiful in the dim twilight as she had in all her glory the previous day, walking the banks provided us with our first dilemma in where to fish? the banks and the actual weaver itself to look at lacks any features you associate with other rivers such overhanging trees and snags and eddies as such so it was a case of picking two swims and beginning the journey.

My tactic for the day was to fish maggot and hemp fed in ground bait and run the float over it with the pole while my uncle chose to fish the stick float.  Setting up we found it quite similar to a huge canal in there was a steep drop off a few metres out which seemed to level out around 7-10m.  I fed hemp slightly downstream hoping to spread the bait a little to draw fish over a large area and the groudbait was there as we had heard the venue holds some good bream and skimmers.

This is the first time i have ever really fished a river on the pole barring a few times on the Dee when i tried and failed with an idea to improve my catch rate so i was not confident at all going into the session but was very excited to learn a new way of fishing that if truth be told i will have to learn and learn well as it will make up the majority of my fishing on the weaver for silvers as feeder fishing is not really my thing.

My uncle was first into fish and it was a baby gudgeon that claimed the crown of first weaver fish, not the biggest fish in the river, maybe even the smallest but it was a start.  My uncle had put a few bites together with small roach coming at regular intervals where as i still remained bite less trying to get to grips with feeding the pole and keeping the bait going down in a straight line.  A few tangles and re-rigging ensued from myself but eventually after taking a minute to think over my tactics and feeding i began to catch the odd roach.

Over the next few hours my uncle began to get fish with regularity before they would move out for a while and then move back in again, all fish were small roach.  I had by now got to grips with the pole and was getting bites steady and i was really made up to have gone from not catching to getting bites steady, again all were small roach but this was irrelevant my target for the day was to get some bites and i had achieved that and it gave me a solid base to build on an refine my tactics in the future.  I found fishing the pole exciting and different and i really enjoyed it and i must admit i was a little disappointed when 12am rolled round.

Sunday Afternoon 1pm - 5pm - Stick Float Fishing  on the River Dane

Loading the car on the weaver was a piece of cake as it was literally situated behind my car and in no time at all we was on our way to the River Dane.  This ease of moving was one of the reasons we got the card as you can literally be fishing the Dane and struggling and easily pack in and move on another river in 10 minutes sometimes on the Warrington Anglers River Dane at Holmes chapel you would feel as if you had no option to stick it out if the chub were not having it as there are very few locations to drop back on, river wise.

Arriving at the dane and setting up in my swim there were signs all round that the River season is nearing its end none more so that this patch of daffodils standing proud in the midday sun, a sure sign times are changing.  The dane is different in every way to the weaver what with its intimate secluded swims and steady paced glides its  river that just cries out to have a stick float run down it.  With this in mind i set up my 13ft trotting rod armed with 5lb Drennan float fish line and a 1lb 7oz hook length,  i wouldn't normally go as light as this but i knew this part of the dane held all species of river fish such as dace, perch and roach along with the chub so i set up on the light side to give myself the best chance of a few bites if i started to get snapped i could always go straight through with the 5lb line.

Setting up i had tricked bait into the swim on a line i expected the fish to hold leaving the dangerous run along the snags till later on in the day if bites did not come, my plan was to draw the fish into the middle rather than chasing them, set up ready it was time to make that magical first cast into the unknown on a new section of river, this is what river fishing is all about for me, discovery and the unknown.

First trot down the pre baiting whilst setting up had worked a treat as the float buried and i was met with a stubborn fish that left me in no doubts as to which species i was connected to as it darted for the nearside cover, a chub it just had to be.  Up came a pair of white lips and a chub slid into the net, a chub first cast and being only a pound or so i was optimistic we had a few of these fish around.

The next few casts were filled with optimism and rightly so as the very next cast i suffered a hook pull at the net form another chublet and the very next cast landed a small dace.  This action was not confined to my swim either as my uncle visited my peg early on to say he had been snapped twice and landed 3 chub.  I was catching the odd chub but not with and regularity they were obviously feeding well judging by the mouth full of food in this chubs gob.

The session continued with me picking up the odd fish but my uncle was into a serious shoal and as night fell i could hear him fighting with fish after fish where as my swim seemed to fade with time, my thinking is the fish just followed the line of bait above my peg and this a long with my uncle being really good a trotting and presenting a bait made for an impressive 16lb net of fish come packing up.  I actually felt like i had done better than the final net looked which i guess is a good thing, i think.

uncles net:

my net

We left the bank more than made up with our efforts and it did leave me wondering why we only catch chub from 3lb upwards on the Warring river dane stretch and why we never catch any small chublets.  It is a question that does get you thinking, maybe they reproduce on another stretch and move onto ours when they reach a certain size or maybe the big fish just out compete the small, it does make for an interesting thought though.

till next time i wish you all

tight lines


Sunday, 2 March 2014

Dead Baiting For Pike: Blinding Piking But The End Looms

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update.  This weeks has been a right mixture of rain, wind, sun and if we believe the weatherman tonight snow may well show its head before the week is out which i think if it did arrive would certainly see our chances of getting on the River Dee before the end of the season severely in jeopardy indeed.

This weekend i am hoping to get out to Norwich and become a member of Norwich Anglers Association, this purchase is primarily for fishing the river after the rivers reopen in June but i am sure it will see us visit one or two of the still waters in between that time as well and hopefully we may get a chase to have a sneak peak at its potential sooner than we think if we get it all ironed out by this Sunday so look out for that in next weeks update.  With regards what i want to achieve from purchasing the card, apart from the obvious savings on petrol i have mentioned in other updates, i am really looking forward to trying to capture my first ever pike from this water next winter time and i think that would a great challenge for myself and would fit in nicely with both mine and my uncles fishing as it gives him the option to go for silvers while i can target pike, also the slower nature of this river will make it much easier for my to put out a sleeper rod for the pike while I'm silver fishing than it is on the Dee where the faster flow can cause problems.   It is a card i am both excited and also nervous about fishing as the weaver is a river i have never seen let alone fished!

A few people have asked me about what i will be doing around the Warrington Anglers licence this year and i have come to the decision that i will be renewing my licence for Warrington this year as one i will need it for a little project i have coming up in the next weeks and also i want to investigate some of the waters i have not ventured onto yet on the card in this closed season such as some of the lakes around Wigan.  I did have the mount as a venue on this list but i am hearing this week that a lot of the carp stocked a few years back have been slowly netted and stolen over this time and this again leaves me asking the question that do Warrington Anglers need a dedicated bailiff team instead of relying on member to bailiff?  If you read the licence it states that the Secretary of the club is entitled to a yearly wage for their work so maybe this full time expenditure on human resourcing needs to be expanded to include a dedicated paid bailiffs team as every week it seems there are problems on all WAA waters from the Sankey canal pike being killed, people being robbed at gun point and the general consensus that you don't need a licence to fish as you ill be never asked for a licence to fish being actually stolen form waters, is enough enough now, also begs the question what on earth goes on, on waters miles away like the river Wye?

A few weeks back I broke the news that WAA had added another stretch of the River Alyn in Wales to the card which at the time i was really excited about, local anglers reported on the stretch this week and the news is that the stretch being leased is really shallow and contains no fish and will need a full stocking of fish, as a river angler in this club i give up sometimes as it baffles me how little research goes into some of these purchases, one things for sure i wont be keeping the card for the river fishing on the card as it is an absolute joke.  I must say though it did give me a hint of hope this week when it was announced that there will be bream and roach stocked into Offiahs Dyke along with the carp so at least it may be a fishery that you can fish all year round, this extensive stocking though does make you wonder

Whilst still on the subject of licences the design for this years licence has been released in that most seasonal of fishes the tench a great choice and i wonder if it will feature as heavily as last years picture of a pike did in my fishing this year.  Tench are certainly a fish for me that signifies the end of the river season and the start of Spring as those tiny pin prick bubbles of a tench feeding in your swim leads to the bite alarm screaming off and eventually the slimy green flanks, teddy bear eye and paint brush tail slide over the rim of the net you know spring is here, i cant wait and the changing seasons are one of the great pleasures of being an all year round angler.

Those lazy days tench fishing may be a few weeks away yet but already the signs of spring are all around us for anyone willing to wander off the beaten track and look for them.  On this weeks trips i was met with huge beds of snow drops and the lovely purple flowers of these crocuses above a heart warming sight on any cold trip to the bank.  Investigating the hedgerows further whilst waiting for the floats to sail off revealed that some of the trees are already starting to show the first buds appearing meaning it wont be long before the brown dull hedgerows are covered in a thick blanket of green.   Spring is not far off now so here is the the changes and the fishing to come.

And with that its on to this weeks adventures:

Saturday 6.30am till 12.30am : Dead Baiting For Pike- Blinding Result

Being in regular contact with a seasoned pike angler has really made me aware of the strict time line that predator hunters count down to each year, spawning,  a process i was aware of from my piking on the river days but little did i know how it effected the pike fishing.  I have been told many stories of how you can tell when they have gone to spawn because the bites just disappear and are replaced with long blanks.  With this information stored well in my head and the ultra mild conditions i knew that this spawning would not be too far away now so time would be of the essence and i knew i had to take full advantage of any time on the bank i could, even if it was just a few extra hours.

My first session of the week was a cheeky early dart from work on Wednesday at 15.45, sat in work the conditions felt right it was overcast and cool and i knew just a hour or so into dusk would be enough for me to sneak a bite from a fish if there was one around and with that i shot out of work grabbed the minimum of gear and literally ran to the peg hoping to get the full two hours in till 6pm.  I was joined by Garry hoping to lure a perch spinning and apart from a dropped run that took me into some reeds straight away, i think in hindsight i gave it too much time to run and was concentrating more on the float and less on where it was heading, still an enjoyable evening and again provided me with plenty of confidence my tactics are working.

Saturday came around and after a long week in work it was more than welcome i can tell you, as always i had from daybreak till round 12am and initially i set off for a location i had caught two pike from in the past on the dead baiting but after two and half hours and not so much as tremble on the float i decided to head off to another spot.  This second spot i actually had earmarked for a full day session on the Sunday but i thought an extra few hours would not make a difference.

The car parked i was soon set up and cast out into the first swim with a herring and mackerel tail my chosen baits but alas there was no obliging pike in the first swim so at 11am with an hour to go i was firmly in last swim and last chance saloon.  The bait placed up the side of a reed bed it just did not feel right so i brought it round the front and in the deeper drop off and that proved to be a sweet move as i had literally had time to put the rod down and grab the camera to take a picture of a pair of buzzards when out of the corner of my eye i saw the herring float slide slowly away.

A solid take as the float slid into the middle and i gave it a few second count before striking hard to set the hooks home.  I would like to say it was an epic battle where i had to shout "we need a bigger boat" but the truth was it was a flat fight where the fish just ebbed into the edge and i chinned it out, now this is when it woke up and went mad on the bank and at one point managed to slap me around the chops with its tail, watch out for the teeth they said, its the tail where its at!!

The fish unhooked and ready for its photo, it was during this time i noticed it was blind in one eye.  At a smidgen under 9lb its testament to the prehistoric survival capabilities of this species that it can survive and survive quite well.  Some will say this could have been a bigger pike that was on the decline from a larger weight since this injury and that is certainly not the case as along with passing on hints and tips teaming up with another angler you can also compare captures and this pike was caught from the same swim last January at around 8.5lb so its a fish that is maintaining itself quite well indeed, a sucker for a dead bait though it seems.

Sunday - Dead beating for pike: Location, Location or Presentation?

Still riding on the success of the previous day i was up bright and early on Sunday and driving to the swim the car was all over the place with the ferocious wind and in my mind i knew i was in for a tough day on the bank so i decided if i was going to stick with my plan i was at least going to be comfy so i headed home for a brolly, flask of coffee and my chair.  Arriving at the swims to gale force winds i set about setting up a base camp of sorts the picture below and video showing my home for the day and the wind.

The umbrella held off the cutting wind but it had detrimental effects on the fishing as it made it impossible to present a bait off the bottom as instantly the bait was dragged out of position by the wind pressure on the line.  A hour of so in the wind hit the back of the umbrella with a big gust and it bent the metal pole holding it in place.  The water in front of me was being whipped into a foam but with some success the day before i just knew there was fish to be had here but as time went on towards dinner with no signs i was beginning to think i was just waiting for the inevitable blank to come.

Pike fishing does offer you some slack weather wise in the fact you are using such robust tackle you can fish and hold spots better than if you were fishing for silvers in the weather but inside i knew the baits where not being fished well so around 12pm i decided to move to a more secluded swim.  This move paid of instantly as no sooner had i cast in the float was away and i struck into a small jack that unfortunately come off mid water, i instantly replaced the bait back on the spot and cursed my luck.  To my amazement the float instantly again moved off, this time i gave the fish enough time to take the hooks into its mouth before striking hard and i was again into a small jack which was covered in leeches.  So was it a case of location or presentation?

a welcome jack pike

of course the best part is seeing them swim off

The pike returned i settled into my swim, this swim was not completely wind free but it was a dam site calmer than the previous one, i sat back and poured myself a celebratory brew, it tasted so sweet and i don't take sugar!  I set my self a finish time of 4pm and i was optimistic of at least another fish as these past few weeks has taught me that the jack pike don't normally travel alone like some of the bigger fish seem to do at times and i also knew that it was highly unlikely it was the same pike that came off that took the bait the second time so i knew he was also in the area and feeding.

As most of you can tell i am always optimistic on the bank and although i may not know exactly what i am doing is right all the time i always give it a 100 percent and i always am expectant of a bite every time i go but i was very surprised that it took until last knockings at 4pm for the float to slip away again and i was rewarded with my second fish of the session, a jack pike and boy had he been lying up as he was festooned with leeches and big ones to book as shown below.

Tuesday : 4 rods and have they gone to spawn?

Tuesday was a session i had arranged with Garry a week or so back and one i was really looking forward too as we were heading back to scene of my Personal best pike  few weeks back.  The night before i struggled to sleep with the excitement of what lay ahead, what can i say i really am a big kid at heart.  We arrived at the swims and with shaking hands i hooked up my baits onto their trebles and took great care in making sure i was fishing the right part of the swim.  Garry was first to bet a bite which saw his 2.75lbtc rod bending down the the handle, what surfaced could only be described as a "log-viathan" as from the depths he pulled up a tree, a whole tree, no wonder his fish never come off!.   Joking aside it was actually the apprentice that struck first blood as a series of knocks and dips on the right hand float resulted in a dropped run only for the second float then to start getting the same attention as if the fish had gone from one bait to the next, a swift strike confirmed what Garry had suspected in that it was a small jack picking up the bait and dropping it and this was confirmed as a small jack came to the top and at the last minute spat the bait which we think it had just grabbed and not taken down.

Little did i know at this time that this run would be my only action of the day and despite travelling to 3 well known spots it was not till last knockings and on a random spot we had never fished that Garry had a bait taken as he reeled in, our state of pike-less madness evident in the video below and yes that is Garry laughing at the end of the video and between me and you it was also twinned with a little dance :-/.

The day, although lacking pike activity was a good day on the bank and it is so much easier to go Pike fishing for a day when there is two of you there as you can talk over tactics and work your four baits in conjunction with each other so you are covering as many options as possible.  It was also great that he took time to show me how to tie my own pike traces and also threw me in the deep end to tie my own from scratch, not a bad first attempt if i say so myself!  A rig i am actually too scared to put on as i don't want to lose it, in fact i feel like framing it, el-saddo i know.

The lack of activity and the fact what fish we did catch were below breeding size had us thinking that the fish may have now moved to spawn and the mild temperatures over the passed days leading up to the session could have also saw this being a major possibility.  in all honestly this session saw me leaving the bank thinking that could well have been my last pike session till next winter.

Well that pretty much sums up another week on the bank for myself thank you for taking the time to read my rambles and tight lines if you are out this week!!