Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Red Letter Pike Trip, Otter Talk and What Line to Use For Trotting.....

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update I hope I find you all well and your nets wet.  There has been a lot going on at the moment with the blog behind the scenes with both new and old supporters.  The blog trips wise is still miles behind and its safe to say there is a healthy back log o fish filled trips to write about.  I do always try and give the full picture of my angling by making sure I include the blanks but it is proving very hard with so many trips where I caught still to be blogged about.  I guess its not a bad tying and it could be worse if I had no fish caught to write about.  It does go to show though how winter does not have to mean you hang up your rods there are plenty of fish to be caught through winter and in fact winter fishing can be easier than summer if you pick the right species.

In this blog update the introduction covers the new blog sponsor I have welcomed on board, a little on my thoughts on a otter picture ding the rounds on social media and the introduction if finished by looking at what main line I use for my trotting on rivers for Dace, Roach and Chub.  The fishing in this update includes a red letter session for pike with Ste, a solo trip the next day where I get one chance but do I take it? After that its a short trip feeder fishing with my uncle for chub.

Lets get on with the update...

New Blog Supporter....

This week I received a email from a company asking if I was interested in working together with regards their new product range aimed at anglers.  The company in question is called KitShack and they specialise in head gear including Buffs.  I checked out their impressive website and was impressed with them and agreed on a deal to work together.  They recently sent me out some products to review so keep an eye out for a product review in the coming week or so, believe me Its worth reading as this companies products have really impressed me so far.

Check them out on this link:http://www.kitshack.com/new-angler-14-15-collection

There will also be a link going on the side bar of the blog shortly but at this moment y laptop is broken so I am writing the updates on paper and writing them up when I have access to a computer.

What Fishing lines??

A question I get asked a lot around my fishing, apart from locations, is what fishing line do I use? It is a question I have covered before on my blog but with over 200 entries now on this blog I am not searching through them to find it haha, much easier to just cover it again.  For my main line when trotting for Dace, Chub and Roach I use 4lb 4oz Drennan Float fish line.

I came across this line a year or so ago when I was put onto it by a angler on facebook and I can honestly say I have never ever looked back.  For many years I used Maxima thinking nothing about it but it isn't until you use a line that Is specialised for the task of trotting you appreciate just how good it is.  The line is strong and yet it lifts of the water a dream and that is so important when you are trying to mend the line t get it behind the float again.  The other good point about this line is it does not cost the earth, I think 100m of it costs £3.00.

For hook lengths I use Bayer Perlon in either 1lb 7oz or 2lb 2oz breaking strains.  When I first started trotting a float on rivers I used some of the new high tech lines and to be frank they are just not up to the abuse you put the line through on rivers, fantastic lines for pole fishing but in my experience for hook lengths they have a tendency to pig tail as you constantly wind the line through the water.

Otter Pic Social Media Storm....

This picture below has been doing the rounds over the past few days on facebook and has caused a but of a storm along the way as it reignited the otter are out o control debate

The picture taken by an angler shows a otter attempting to take a pike as the angler brings it in.  In regards to the otter taking the fish then I guess there is no difference to an otter taking the fish as there is it being a cormorant or even a bigger pike that will both only see a fish in distress and an easy meal this picture to my eyes does nothing but show the circle of life being played out, a  predator taking opportunity of an easy meal.  The very same tactic employed probably by the pike angler offering a dead bait to tempt the pike into taking an easy meal. 

With regards to otters as a whole then my opinions are quite clear on them.  I do feel the otter itself is not to blame as a species as it cannot be held accountable for the open releasing of otters by animal groups in this country where in my opinion not enough studies have been done before they are released onto water ways where they have been absent for many years.

Some rivers like the Severn, Dee, Wye, Ribble and Thames have the fish stocks to support a natural population of otters if they where released in low numbers then food available would control how large their population would be.  This has not been the case though it would seem and the reintroduction if otters, in some cases for commercial reasons to attract visitors, has got out of hand and has not been managed hence why you now see these otters moving away from the rivers to find food in the local garden ponds or commercial carp fisheries.

The only other part of the debate around otters that I have an opinion on is the releasing of otters onto smaller waterways that just can not support an apex predator like otters long term.  Take for example the River Dane at holmes chapel, a small river with mainly grayling, trout and compact shoal of chub.  The fish populations around these parts would probably sustain an otter but when you are dealing with a pair that then have pups you then in one season can possibly have 5 mouths to feed and the fish populations can support them short term but in the long term the fish can not reproduce and then grow to a size to feed them in the long term.

In short the damage to these small waterways is now done and fisheries along water ways like this will all have to be on their guard to protect their fish stocks and of course prepare their fishers to stop otters getting into them.  There is another point as well I read recently it costs thousands of pounds for otter fencing to be put up around a fishery, a cost that most companies wont have factored into their plans when going into this business. 

The actual otter in the wold is a beautiful creature to see though there is no getting away from that, I have fond memories of moments spent on the bank quite close to these creatures and again I repeat myself by saying its not the otters fault more the people who reintroduced them in uncontrollable numbers in the wrong places.  As anglers we should thoroughly enjoy sharing the bank with these animals and they are here to stay there is no doubt about that, they are far to popular with the general public for any cull to be agreed.

with that lets get onto this weeks fishing...

Can Do No Wrong Piking.....

This season I have really loved my pike fishing there has been no hiding that as the sheer number of trips for this species alone is testament to how this dead baiting for pike has captured my imagination and ignited a passion for a different branch of our sport I didn't know was there.  The solo trips have been enjoyable but its been the social trips that have stood out for me this year with the piking.  A few with all the lads, Garry, Ste and Ryan and more recently a few short morning session with just Ste and this following session was one of those short sessions.

As always with any trip it was a really early start on the bank and as always with my pike fishing I set out hoping for one chance.  The first area we tried shocked me as is was quite shallow and I guess with all my winter river fishing I had automatically associated winter pike fishing with deep areas.  My two rods where given a liberal amount of oil and put in position hoping to pick up any early morning pike on the feed.  Ste had been on a few trips previous to this trip and like myself had been struggling to put together fish with the changing conditions.

The rods had been out for around a hour before my right hand rod started to show some signs of activity.  One thing I have been learning on my trips with Ste is how long to leave my runs before striking and it has been noticeable just how many fish I have got onto the bank on his sessions than on my own where I have lost a fair few fish.  The time to strike came and striking hard was met with the fish keeping deep and fighting hard a proper battler.  Keeping calm and letting the fish take line if it needed it I played the fish out and Ste slipped the net under a nice upper single pike, a great start to the session.

Its becoming pointless taking the scales on these trips as Ste hits the nail on the head with every prediction he has caught so many pike.  A nice start to the session with a 8lb fish.

The fish returned we where both full of anticipation especially given the fact a number of swirls in our area from feeding pike.  These fish certainly where not interested in our dead baits but they did succeed in keeping us in the swim till midday.  Moving along we tried a spot of wobbling and it was during bringing in a wobbled roach I got a tangle in my reel line causing me to let the roach drop to the bottom in the middle.  The tangle undone I began reeling in and it went solid and I felt a hard tug on the line, a fish, I then made the school boy error of striking and playing the fish and it of course spat the bait.  What I should have done when I felt the resistance was let the line go slack and let the fish take the bait a bit before striking, all a learning curve though.

Moving along we ended up in our last swim of the and with one bait long and one in the near side I had both bases covered.  My far out rod was the first to go, only slight bobs at first and as the float was slightly over depth it was hard to make out if it was the wind or not.  The run took an age to develop and begin to move off and even after it did move away it was a very slow run.  The fish was heading straight for a big underwater snag that's location ste knew very well.  This speeded up the time I had to strike.  Striking it was met with lots of head shakes and a sure sign you don't have a good hook hold.  The fish was on a good minute or so before it spat the bait and with it my chances had gone, so I thought.

The rod replaced in position I was sure with time counting down that my chance had gone.  My wobbled roach lay in the edge and whilst chewing the fat that then began to move off but as soon as we noticed it the fish dropped the bait, it was a day where I could do no wrong it seemed as every where I placed a bait it resulted in some type of action, inexperience though had shone through with only one fish on the bank and I was sure had it been the Ste getting these chances we wold have had 4 pike on the bank by now.

I was hoping for one more chance between the two if us before we called it a day.  In keeping with the day it was my margin rod that had remained dormant all session that moved confidently off and by heck it was a confident take as the float marched off and quickly was submerged, a nice fish I thought.  Striking I was met with a hard fish and the rod hooped over and we both instantly said its a better fish as it called the shots.  Having two people on the bank certainly helps with netting the fish and Ste nailed the fish first time it raised its head!  Nice one!  The fish went 10.5lb on the scales and a nice end to the session for myself although these sessions are never good when only one catches I much prefer the fish to be spread out.  I left happy with the two fish of course but tinged with a little upset as missed chances.

Worth Getting up for....

The next trip out was a few days later and again was only a morning session and was one of those sessions where had you known the end result you could have saved yourself a few hours.  I set off into the dark as normal with just my pike rods and ruck sack for company and I really had no idea where to head.  Driving along I passed a section of canal and looking out of my window in the dull morning light it just looked right for a bite so I quickly pulled the car over and set off on my way.

There was other sections where I had caught well that would look just as good in these conditions I thought as I walked the bank to the swim, so why was I wasting my time trying this place just on a hunch.  The water was really clear so I decided on trying a roach as I knew for at least the first hour or so it would pop up naturally off the bottom.  I silently placed the rod in position and then turned round to bait the second rod with a tasty mackerel, turning round to cast the bait in I looked for my other float which once I spotted it was well on its way along the canal.

Jesus I thought this fish must be hungry as that roach must have still been frozen! Knowing the hard density of the bait and the fish would not be really chewing into it I gave the fish as long as I dared as I felt sure it would drop the frozen offering.  The time of reckoning came and I struck like my life depending on it.  It was one of those fights where I knew I had to be quick of faced losing the fish as I could see the bait out of its mouth.  A few heart stopping head shakes as she came in gave me a few scares and I was so relieved when she slid over the rim of the net.  A nice early pike on the cards I was made up!

The pike was 8lb on the nose and a cracking start to the session

A new bait placed out I was full of enthusiasm for the rest of the session, enthusiasm that was dampened 20 minutes later when a precession of boats approaching regatta proportions passed through leaving the swim looking more like willy wonka's chocolate river than a pike swim.

This colour normally takes around a hour to drop out so moving in the opposite direction to the boats I hoped to speed up this process.  Travelling a few miles I found the colour to be half depth so I was again confident of a fish or two, again my chances where destroyed as no sooner had my bait hit the bottom long came a huge dredging boat! I thanked my lucky stars for the early fish and called it a day and enjoyed  lovely meal at the pub with my ladies and little man in the afternoon.

Rain Spoils Play.....

All set for a days trotting I loaded up the hall way in preparation for a session the next morning and full of the excitement that comes with the evening before I fishing session I headed off to bed and set the alarm.  Waking up to the alarm my ears adjusted to the back ground sound that was the hard tapping of heavy rain against my window.  I knew straight away our chances of getting on our usual part of river for the chub where decreasing with every drop and a quick check on the Environment Agency confirmed that all the rivers around where on a steep rise, not good.

One thing i have found fishing rivers regular is you can have a stonking session when a river is on the rise but you have to hit it right on the first rise and then you will catch well as the fish feast on the influx of food washed into the system but this explosion in feeding will only last to a certain point in the rise before the fish stop coming to trotting tactics.

We put our heads together and headed of to an area of river that had a huge slack on a deep bend.  The river was pushing through on the inside bend but the far slack was there and just begged for a feeder fished bait.  Feeder fishing is not normally part of my angling in recent years but before the blog it was the only way i fished rivers so its a tactic that is not alien to me.  The clarity of the river was ok but it was certainly on a fast rise and we knew we only had a hour or so's fishing.

The maggot feeder was not in the swim long before we both had a hungry trout each on the end of our lines, why people fly fish for these species when maggots are so irresistible to these fish is beyond me.  The suicidal trout continued to crawl up our lines until my uncle had two rasping bites on his feeder which almost pulled the rod clean off the rest.  Two bites and in two casts he had two nice trout resting in the keep net.  EA rules dont allow the keeping of game fish in keep nets so there where just two chub occupying the keep net.

The river then over the next hour or so really coloured up badly and with only maggots as bait even the ever hungry trout bites dried up.  It was probably not the best day to go and explore a new bit of river but i guess we also found another swim to fish in normal levels with the possibility of holding something special.

Well that sums up another couple of sessions on the bank.

Till next time tight lines,



  1. I grew up in Australia and as you can imagine fishing was my hobby especially in the early 1980's in a very remote mining village of some 800 people. The place was virtually untouched and the fishing was absolutely fantastic. More than once however I had problems with sharks and barracudas trying to, or actually, biting the fish that I was pulling in. Luckily I never had a crocodile follow the fish up. :-)

  2. Very informative, keep posting such good articles, it really helps to know about things.

  3. Danny. If you knew barbel were present, would you be happy to step up the Bayer Perlon hook link. If so what to? 3.2lb. 3.2lb Bayer is .18 would you trust that line on barbel?