Tuesday, 28 July 2015

My Day At Fishomania Internations 2015

A warm welcome to this week blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  This week has been manic behind the scenes with plenty of emails regarding product reviews, use of my material on blog and even one around Sunglasses from America! Of course there is always the emails from readers of the blog and i work through these as fast as i can so if you have sent one in i will get back to you on your questions or compliment emails on blog. 

So on with this little update:

Being a person who watches fisho mania on sky most years it was on i was really excited when asked to join my Mate Garry and a few of his work mates on a trip down to the Fisho Mania finals.  It was decided to go down on the Sunday for the International finals and to be honest i was made up about this as the two anglers fishing, Des Shipp and Will Raison, are both anglers i like and always take time to listen to their hints and tips on line.

The evening before the trip and with a day chilling out the next day planned and the weather cracking the slates outside i decided to pick up a few beers on the way home from our fishing trip to the river and chill out in the garden.  Waking up the next morning i instantly regretted the decision to have a few beers as with a pounding head i struggled to wake up.  The noise of rain on the window initially had me wondering if the trip was still on at all, a quick text and it was all go for the day ahead.

Meeting up at 8.45am with Garry and his mates it was a quick trip to McDonald's for breakie before heading off down the M6.  A nice chat about all things fishing confirmed there was plenty of common ground amongst us all and shows really how angling can being people together to share experiences and tactics.  Baring a holiday to devon and the odd trip to Stapley Water Gardens this was a rare visit for me below the holmes chapel junction of the M6 and having only ever fishing Flushing Meadows Fishery i was intrigued to what a high end commercial fishery on a huge scale would look like.

Arriving at Cudmore Fisheries i was first intrigued by the little river leading alongside the path to this place and then we pulled into the main field to park, £10.00 parking fee was paid and we began our walk.  The first lake we saw must have been a new enterprise as it was very much in the construction stage with little bank side natural cover.

As we moved further into the venue so the pools seemed more natural and developed with some lovely looking pools hidden away like this one behind the main company tents.

The commercial area held a few tents loaded with angling tackle all displaying their items very well and i was really impressed with the range of items available from poles to seatboxes you could pick them all up if you so wished and some had a really good deal on them.  I had recently had a pike at my net on the river so i was in the market for a new keep net so a bargain of a keep net for £12.00 was a must buy for me, i decided to return at dinner time and pick it up,lesson learnt.  Other stalls where selling items such s long river rods up to 17ft, ground bait bulk buy deals and there was also a Womens international stall where Tommy Pickering had taken time out of his busy schedule with Sky to talk to anglers.

Moving further down the commercial area we came to a set up by the environment agency that had a aerated tank full of all fresh water fish this attracted a lot of attention during the day and was a really interesting addition to the section and i thought a good touch to show people who don't fish just what fish are in our waters.

We then decided to have a walk round and there where loads of little events and tutorials going on from Carp fishing and Pole fishing tips to fly fishing and i think in total it covered all aspects of fishing and there was also places to have a go yourself.  We spent a bit of time on the lure fishing but when Garry spotted an angler who he follows closely called Sam Edmond's.  I must say i recognised his face off TV but not an angler i follow week to week but after speaking to him for a good 20 minutes it was obvious he knew his stuff and i must say he was great to talk too and learn about a type of fishing i knew little about in drop shotting.  He took time to go over all his lures and like any angler who loves his sport he had plenty of stories to share, great guy.

We then moved onto the main Arena lake, walking up the hill and then looking down over the lake my first impression was how big the venue was, it looked a lot smaller on TV.  There was plenty going on and when we arrived there was around a 45 minutes till the all in and already anglers where busy pluming up and preparing bait.  We settled in behind Des Shipp and our plan was to spend most of our time watching him and then move around to Will Raison later on.  Rumours going round where Des was on a bad peg and i overheard someone saying he had been quoted as saying as much to someone as he went for a toilet break.

Des is an angler i have plenty of time for and always watch his tutorials on Youtube and i have noticed he always replies to comments on facebook after he posts with nearly all getting some kind of reply and i think that is fantastic to see.  This was evident as he took time to sign caps and speak to anglers over the rope barrier and had a laugh and a joke with the crowd as he got wired up for the sky cameras.  It was during this time a man appeared beside me and Garry with a pair of binoculars, at first i thought nothing of it till i noticed he was part of the Holland team.  As the time came near for the anglers to bait up fro 10 minutes they became fixated on Des's side tray obviously trying to work out what bait he was using and where he was putting it.

It really shocked me and really hit home how serious of a competition this is.  i am not saying for one second the England team where not up to the same tactics, i didn't see any evidence of it, but to be sat so obvious right behind an angler did shock me.  To the fishing and Des got of to a slow start as cheers came up from the other side of the lake as Will landed a fish.  It seemed an age before the first fish came to des but as it did so did one or two more and then it seemed the bites died before the shoal moved back in again and this continued for the first two weigh in its seemed. 

Watching it live really was enjoyable and it showed me just how much time and effort goes into their preparation as not only did Des have a few top kits but he also had two waggler rods set up and a feeder rod to cover all eventualities, preparation is the key.  The guy next to Des was having a terrible time with a duck that would not leave his float alone and he also lost a nice fish due to a hook pull while we watched.

It was great to hear all the banter on the bank and listen to  anglers suggesting what he should do to catch more fish or what they would do, i was thinking about how nervous i would be with all these people behind me.  After the forth weigh in England had started to build a bit of a gap on the opposition and with no carp in the lake over 7lb it was not going to be possible for one big fish to see one of the nations come right back at the England team.  We decided at this point to go and get a bite to eat. 

A tasty Hot dog with plenty of refreshing raw onion filled a hole if leaving me a little eye watered.  A quick check in for the keep net and all had be sold so a lesson learnt there.  We had another good look around the lakes before heading back to the main arena where we decided to move round and sit behind Will Raison who was catching plenty of fish but was actually being beaten weight wise by the angler next to him.  Settling in it was clear the England team where working to a set plan where they knew bites would come over time to win the match. even at this point. 

Then a weigh in was set up right in font of us and i with the Sky Camera looking straight down the lens at us i knew we just had to have been on sky Tv.  Getting home it was clear we was right in shot for this weigh in haha.

I think not long after this the Belgium team i think it was made a mistake in their plan as with loads of fish showing over the far side towards the island the angler decided to go over to the waggler.  Fish where all over his area but the float did not move.  During this next hour Will decided to stay close in on his pole line and picked up fish steadily whilst still feeding his margin line, a line the Belgium angler never once fed.  During this hour Will caught steady and the Belgium angler seemed to grow in frustration at missed bites and the swirls around his float but no bites.

In that half hour he weighed in no fish while Will put a few kilo on the scales and this half hour followed by Will then going down the edge and catching steady for the next half hour ended Belgium's chances in my opinion, a crucial part of the match and great to see in action.  Watching will i was amazed how fast he worked, shipping in and out and feeding at speed he was catching fish quicker than most could ship out!!

We watched Will till the penultimate weigh In before moving round to the main stage to get a decent view of the ceremony at the end.  Right at the front we had a great view of the teams as England collected their prize money and trophy.

This rounded off a fantastic trip to Fishomania finals, a day i really enjoyed and to be honest a lot more than i thought i would do.  It was certainly better than watching it on TV although being there you do lose that knowledge of knowing who is catching where and whats going on with the rest of the lake.  I do think  the lack of big fish ruined the event though as i think seeing some big lumps come in the margin would have added more excitement to the event as with a number of weigh in's to go both Will and Des knew all they had to do was keep catching steady and there was no way of being caught as there was little chance of them going half a hour without a fish and a nation adding 5-6 kilo to go into the lead.

A fantastic day and i can not wait for next years final!!

till next time

tight lines


Monday, 20 July 2015

River Dane Stick float and First Fisho-mania trip...

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.This weeks update introduction i share some news about my first trip to a angling event, a look at how my new garden in the new house is coming along and we finish the update with a recent trip to a restaurant on the weaver.  The fishing covers a trip on the river dane and a stop off on another waterway on the way home. Lets get into it..

First Angling Event #Excited!

This weekend i will hopefully all being well attending my first ever angling event in the form of the Fisho-Mania Finals.  It is an event i have watched many times on TV but never really thought about visiting but this year I'm hoping will be different.  A few weeks ago i was asked if i was interested in attending the event with Gary and a few mates and after checking the schedule i found there was scope to go so i jumped at the chance.  It is an event i am excited about attending and i cant wait to just sit and watch one professional angler all session and see how they fish a match. 

Many times on TV i have just wanted them to have a choice where you can just watch one anglers, a bit like player cam on the football.  Fishing the day before i am hoping to get a good session under my belt for that weeks blog and then just relax and think about a day in the sun watching the fishing.  So roll on the weekend and fingers crossed for some sun and fantastic fishing!!

Garden in Bloom

Moving into the new house the garden front and back was a nightmare with the grass out of control and covered in weeds, borders and paths where not visible under a blanket of grass and weeks and the square planting area by the gate was thick with deep rooted weeds.  Over the past month or so we have slowly began working on the gardens and although the battle with the weeds is ongoing we are starting to see some results with the plants we have out in with the star being this blue Hydrangea!, i love walking passed this plant on my way too and from work!

The back garden is a haven for all wildlife with all manner of birds being regular visitors including the local sparrow hawk.  Regular followers of my blog on Facebook will remember last week when we got out the paddling pool and had some water fights we were amazed to see a frog appear from nowhere! it was amazing to see given the garden is quite well boxed in by other gardens at all three sides and bodes well for my idea of adding a pond to attract some wildlife into the garden, lets hope i don't end up with a pond full of frogs spawn!!

Riverside Meal

This week also saw us taking a well earned trip out with the kids to a local pub for dinner.  The riverside situated right on the banks of the weaver is always a great choice for me.  Right on the banks of the river you can sit out having a nice cold pint and some food and watch the water which on the day was alive with fish i have to say.  As far as i am aware fishing is free on this section and judging from the signs of fish a good days sport could be had.

The food was nice and the company even better so if you are into fishing and looking for a nice place go thats right next to some river then head here. 

On with the Fishing...

River Dane On Stick and New Venture...

The river dane again attracted out attention this weekend and for the love of god i have no reason why it did.  We have had a torrid time of late on this river but again with my long rod not fixed our options are really short.  The rivers are so low at the moment as well it means the choice of swims is really cut down as you need to be finding cover once that sun comes up to stand any chance of the bites keeping coming.

I set up in a shady swim with plenty of tree cover and really easy access to the peg.  A slack on my inside and the main flow coming of a sunken tree to my left the flow was gentle as it then sweeped round a bend.  I knew the peg well and knew from experience to expect bites close in early on with them tailing off and then the chase of the fish over the far side as they followed the shadow of a overhanging tree,

A 6 number 4 stick float down to a hook length of 1.7lb line to a size 18 eyes whisper barb hook attached loop to loop.  The bait as always was 2 pints of maggots and a pint of hemp seed, a batch that wouldn't chit completely despite hours boiling.

The beauty of getting to know these pegs is you have a good idea of where you are going to fish so you can start baiting up as soon as you arrive, a tactic that  normally See's instant bites on your first trot through.  All set and ready to go you have that magical moment in any session, the first cast.

That first cast is a real leap into the unknown and with river fishing you do not ever really know what is going to come your way.  This is even more so the case with the Dane as she flows into the Weaver close by and you really could be catching what ever is in the river that day.  One day a huge shoal of bream might think of going up there and be settled in your swim, you just never know and that is why i love river fishing so much.

The first fish of the session was a surprise to me as it was a skimmer, on this river you can almost put your money on the greedy chublets being first on the hook as they move in and gorge on the free offerings.  Not today though as the skimmer above took the mantle of first fish.

Normal service was resumed on the next trot down as a greedy chublet came begrudgingly to the net and safely joined the skimmer in the keep net, a nice start.

The chublets moved in quite early on and i was getting them right up in the swim, a quick stop on hand fed maggots and just feeding hemp down the swim soon saw them moving back into line over my hemp seed. 

The swim was building nicely and what was even better was the fact that if i got through the chublets and small roach then right down on the hemp seed where the flow really slowed a little i was often rewarded with a better stamp of roach or perch.  The key was getting the line to go into the faster flow and impart some movement into the bait and this seemed to bring the bite on.

There are some nice roach about in this river but tracking down this traveller can be hard as they do seem to move around a lot, roll on winter eh when you can track them down to their winter haunts.  As the session went on i was starting to think i had some nice fish together and then the swim dies completely! Trotting through the rubbles signifying a good head of fish int he swim where gone and so was any signs of fish around, like a light switch going off the swim died.

Trotting through it all became clear as a sharp dip on the float saw me connect with a small fish that then saw a pike nail it and come clear out of the water as it did.  It was a fantastic sight to see as the pike spectacularly took to the air to nail the fish as it came in.  It only looked like a small pike and that had me worried as piking in winter had taught me these pike done really move on and normally keep feeding in the area.

I had so many small pike in winter take my bait and get them right in the edge before they would come off and then 20 mins later off your bait would go again with the same fish.  I always take a pike rod with me on river trips for the very purpose of catching pike and putting them back in upstream so i can carry on catching the silvers.  A small silver fish was offered out and trotting it down the pike float soon zoomed under, a few seconds and a hard strike and one angry pike made its way in.  Like a defiant teenager it struggled but eventually in it came and i was made up as these fish have such lovely colours when they come from rivers.

To emphasise just how much a pike can disrupt a swim it took me a hour and a half after returning the pike upstream to get another bite which was a roach.

The swim was producing the odd fish but i was working hard for them.  My uncle in another swim had gone a good few hours without a bite or any sign so we decided to call it a day, pack up, and then give a little waterway a go on the way home.  The final net was not really what we had set out for but sometimes in this sport you have to take the rough with the smoother and as i have said many times in this blog.  When you go out each week you see the highs and lows in sport and you have to ride through these lows and experience them to then appreciate the good times when they come.

The waterway a mere spit of water but worth trying as a diversion from the dane and hey we had nothing to lose and if anything the change of scenery was welcome.  We only fished for a hour or two to get a feel for the place and a few roach and some perch gave us a base to build on showing us there where fish present and worth another visit.

Well that is a another weeks blog updated i hope you all have a good week and the weekend brings you the wettest of nets.

Till then,

tight lines


Sunday, 12 July 2015

Tough Times on River and Pondip Tip card!!

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  The blog has been quiet of late and in truth i have really found it hard to find time to update the blog.  Friday nights are my usual slot but after a long week in work i was so tired on Friday night i just had to get some sleep before hitting the river the next morning.  There is nothing worse than going fishing tired and thats even more so with stick float fishing as it is so mentally draining.

Back to the normal routine now and this weeks update is one i have been looking forward to writing for a while as it covers a little project i have been working with pondip on, look out for that in the introduction.  The rest of the introduction covers a round up of how the fishing is going this year on the river so far and also a piece on how hard I'm finding it without my longer rod.  The fishing is a session on the river where the fishing is really tough but the day is saved by a nice fish right on last knockings.

Lets get into the update....

Pondip Rig Card...

At the beginning of last month i began working with the team at Pondip to create some pieces for their Pondip boxes.  The idea is to create a laminated card to go into each box with a carp tip on one side and a coarse one on the other.  My task was the coarse fishing tip and i thoroughly enjoyed putting the Rig card together.  The whole experience i found a challenge as it is a real step up from the blog in both the expectation in the quality of the writing and even more challenging for me an update in quality of the photos.

The writing i found quite easy if i am honest as i was well within my comfort zone talking about a rig for fishing the canal but i found it a real challenge with the pictures.  The problem is with coarse fishing rigs is the fact the line and hooks is so thin that getting a quality picture is so hard.  With the carp rigs you are dealing with thick line and big hooks that focus and show up nicely on any back ground whereas 1lb 7oz hook lengths are a different Kettle of fish all together.  These lines placed on a black background show well but the picture looks awful!!

The blog is all done on my iPhone and i take all the pictures on the phone and then upload them to an on line photo storage site via an app before uploading them to the blog.  This allows me to then use the IMG code for websites, any how i digress. The point being the images are ok for my blog and fit the purpose of use on here but for a company with a set image they are not, well good enough.  I really enjoyed working with the team and putting this together, working out styles and images and working to meet their expectations was interesting and now we have done it i can use that to make other ones in the future that are there or there abouts first time.

I was so proud this month opening my pondip box to see my rig card inside and knowing everyone who got a box this month will have seen this card!, so proud.

Tough Start To The Season....

Our time on the river dee a few years ago was spent really discovering this fantastic river and along the way we learnt a great deal about where the fish shoal up during the seasons to a point we had quite a good portfolio of locations to choose from all through the year.  The move to the river Dane and we set ourselves a goal of learning this fantastic waterway with the hope of extracting the best sport possible from its depths.  Last season was our first full year on this river and although we did deviate form time to time to other rivers this river was always our main stay.  We learnt a huge amount in that first summer to autumn but once the rains arrived progress slowed and we learnt that this river can not really handle a lot of water and still fish, not on the stick any way.

There is no doubting the river holds some mature chub, it has to given the amount of chublets, but we have time and time again found the same scenario, frantic bites for around a hour or so and then like a switch going off the bites are gone.  Pike where the chief culprit but with no fish taken it is getting hard to believe that mr pike is solely to blame.  Big fish is another option but surely with the amount of hours we have put in we would have connected with one of them by now? It is a puzzle that is proving hard to crack and i must admit is hitting the moral a little as we are not progressing with this river at all.  We have hit a brick wall and having tried new methods and tactics are yet to suss and crack this tricky little water way.

Not ones to give in we will continue to adapt and dig out new swims to find the areas the better fish are, we will crack it.  This is a glimpse at just how much hard work goes into our fishing to find the real jewels in a river.  One day we will find that area and with big nets of chub the reward for all this hard work, before that though i feel a complete change of direction is needed and a complete change of scenery.

Size Really Is Everything....

Having snapped my 17ft float rod at the end of the last river season i have started this one fishing with my 13ft Korum Flaot Rod.  The small waterway like the Dane it has proved a use able tool but i  must say you don't half miss that extra length...oooo err vicar....joking aside though that extra 4 feet of rod brings so much more to the party that makes trotting so much easier. 

First of all you have the fact that your rod reaches further across the river so in some swims the tip of your rod is almost behind the float all the time aiding that control of the float.  You then have that extra length of rod in the air to keep so much more line off the surface of the river, stopping line from dragging on the inside flow and ruining presentation.  The biggest problem though comes in striking, when that float is quite a way down the river your strike with a 17ft rod is so much more direct as you are in complete control of that float.

The part i have missed moat though about not having my longer rod is the fact it is halting our trips to the river Dee.  The river dee is a monster of a river compared to the small dane and with depths of 14 ft in places you need that longer rod to even reach the bottom, unless you fish the slider.  All in all i am praying for overtime to get this rod fixed and will not be making the same mistake again!.

On to the fishing...

Tough Session on the Bank...

The night before the session started like any other as the ritual of cooking hemp seed and making up rigs was enacted.  Mid way through a rig i heard the tapping of rain on the window sill, we have a small hole in the gutter on the new house and the rain drips down onto the window sill so any rain is heard straight away.  This tapping was followed by the window being illuminated by a flash of lightning followed by the long low rumble of thunder, we were in for an interesting session the next morning.

Waking up at 2am i was amazed not to hear the rain still coming down and even a hour later loading the car the sky was unusually clear, Accuweather, an weather app i use, was telling a far different story.  Heavy rain and thunderstorms where predicted in the early morning with it clearing up afterwards so in went the brolly and the seat box, this was not a day to be stood in the river or not under cover. 

The river looked in mint condition as we arrived, holding a tinge of colour with the margins just showing bottom it looked set for a good days sport.  I set up in a peg where previous trips had revealed a big snag at my feet but a clear run down the middle and the far run that shallowed up as it reached the tail of the trot.

Expectations where high but settled in the first few trots down the float trundled through without even a knock, strange i thought as normally the fish are crawling up the line form the off on this river.  I persevered with the line as with river fishing a shoal can arrive in the blink of an eye as your bait trundling along the river draws fish up to its source. 

Eventually the fish arrived in the peg and predictably they where small silvers, almost on their arrival the sky went jet black and in the distance you could hear loud claps of thunder as a storm passed by.  Luckily we seemed to be right on the edge of the weather front so barring a quick burst of heavy rain we escaped untouched.

The swim then was alive with these small fish but the bites where lightning fast as they battered the bait on the drop with the float on some occasions not even settling.  I put in a few droppers of bait to ensure bait in the swim on the deck and this did seem to settle the swim down a little and bring in the odd small perch.

All of a sudden the bites completely died, all the knocks on the float and the bites on the drop went and it was like a light going out in the swim. Pike? or bigger fish who knows but neither showed when i did finally connect with another fish.  A quick try down the indie line i had been feeding with maggot all session brought a few knocks followed by a better roach.  Then the float slid away and i was into a different animal all together, at first i thought it was an eel as was its strength but the jagged pulse of a tail gave it away to be a perch even before its green flanks and spiky shark like dorsal broke the surface.

A big snag at my feet i knew i had to pile the pressure on the delicate 1lb 7oz hook length if i was to lure it away from its obvious snaggy home.  Time and time again i put maximum side strain on the fish before eventually it broke the surface and flipped on its side, as it did so i took my chance and made sure its turn landed in the net.

On the bank it seems lay the apex predator of these waters and at 1lb 12oz a fish that turned the session round.

The session after this fish plodded away without much to shout about and the final net showed what a poor day it would have been without the perch

final net

Till next time i wish you all

tight lines


Monday, 6 July 2015

River Dane Stick Float Fishing

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  The season is just over a week old and it has been great seeing all the fantastic captures from all over the country as anglers of all ages showcase what fantastic sport is available in our glorious rivers.

Last weeks short session saw me gazing longingly towards the end of the week and another chance to wet a line in running water, i could not wait!  This weeks introduction i will be covering how basic and simple the tackle is for stick float fishing and how cheap, once set up you can have a full days fishing for less than a price of a kilo of boilies.  The next part of the introduction looks at the effort that goes into finding and researching a good hemp seed supplier to buy a bulk order of hemp from and its not a simple as buying the best value option. The fishing this week is really the first proper session on the river as we travel to the river dane with a proper session on the river stood in the actual river with a bait waiter, after months sat on my seat box i was looking forward to it.

On To the Update:

Stick Float Fishing Cheap As Chips -

Stick float fishing is certainly seen as a specialist branch of our wonder full sport where you need years of practise and a deep pocket for plenty of specialist gear.  The truth is quite far from that mindset and although when you get into it more expensive and specialised tackle might be purchased, for example a longer 15-17ft rod, most rivers can be fished with a simple 13ft float rod.

The session you will read about in a moment i fished the river with my 13ft Korum float rod a open faced reel and the end tackle consisted of a stick float, some number 4 weights and a size 20 hook on a 1.7lb hook length it really is as simple as that.  The hook length there means a float can last you years as when you snag on bottom all you lose is the hook length so the initial outlay down you find most of your money is spent on hooks and weights oh and of course bait.

Week on week money spent on bait is where plenty of fun can be had for a minimal weekly outlay.  As a simple comparison the going rate now for boilies is around £10.00 now for 1kg looking around the bait for the sesison this week was £5.00 for two pint of maggots and i bulk buy my hemp in 20kg bags for 30 quid so say at most £1.50 for the pint of hemp, even with £1.50 for weights and £1.50 for hooks you are still under a tenner.  Maybe boilies where a bad example to compare against but then again when you see the amount bait costs to just go fishing for some aspects of our sport it really does make the eyes water.

So why not give your local river a try and learn a new part of our sport that offers so much fun and given the right areas plenty of action with fishing where you really don't know what the next fish will be and all for under a tenner, great fun.

In Search For Good Hemp Seed

Hemp seed plays a huge part in my river fishing and it is a bait that i really don't like travelling to the river without.  Hemp seed can be hit or miss from session to session and on some occasions you might as well have not brought it but when the fish are on it the results are outstanding.  Hemp seed is a fantastic bait for holding fish in the swim and as such when the fish are tuned into your patch of hemp seed then you can literally predict where the float will go under, a simple hold back before the hemp to hold it on the spot and soon as you release the line the float will shoot under, a great feeling.

I use that much hemp during the river season that its works out financially for me to bulk buy a 20kg sack of hemp and divide it down into pint session bags.  The savings doing it this way are huge and i have covered in a previous blog the prices in detail but i think of the top of my head it works out that we get 20kg for £30.00 and to buy from the shop each week raw it would cost closer to £100.00, so as you can see a huge saving.

The buying of hemp is not as easy as just looking for 2okg of hemp on the Internet and just picking out the cheapest one.  Although we just throw it in a river there is good and bad hemp seed on the market and research has to be done to see if the company has a track record of providing hemp that chits easily.  Hemp seed being the seed of the cannabis plant is mainly imported from abroad and as such it is treated to make sure the seeds can not be sewn to grow cannabis plant.   This process of heating the seeds if done for too long can lead to the seeds not chitting and you can boil it till the end of time and it will not split.

Once i find a supplier i will search the Internet for reviews given by anglers and you will soon see the bad ones as no one like to buy a huge sack of hemp to find its useless so you tend to find some strongly worded reviews, of course the same can be said for the good suppliers who get a lot of praise.  The last bulk we bought was fine but we did find odd batches that would not split as well as others.  Research this week has been ongoing but i will post the supplier i find and use this year and the results in a upcoming blog.

With that its on to this weeks fishing..

River Dane Stick Float Fishing: Just What I Needed...

The sesison on the opening day was  more a dipping of our toes in the running water than a proper session out fishing.  In reality we only fished the morning and was home in plenty of time for a nice relaxing afternoon, Saturday was going to be far different.  Our sessions out fishing are normally Saturday affairs where we get out at the crack of dawn to wet a line so it was really weird waking up Saturday morning around 7am and not being out on the bank.  My uncle had been offered some overtime in work on Saturday morning so we made plans to fish the afternoon into dusk on the river. 

An afternoon session to evening is a session we very rarely fish so on the morning of Saturday i was really excited to see what this session would bring.  The area we planned to fish was a stretch of river we had ventured to take a look at during the closed season and we had ear marked a few likely looking pegs we wanted to give a go.  My uncle set up on a cracking looking stick float swim that was a long straight down the river with what looked on paper as an even depth down and across to whole run.  My swim was on the inside slack of a bend as the river flowed from left to right and was a swim i knew i had a chance of getting a basket in but in reality i would probably find myself stood in the river with my bait waiter.


Stick float fishing is a great way of discovering the make up of a swim and what it holds, you set up only knowing a few facts about the swim like, it flows from left to right with a slow to medium pace and there is a submerged tree to my left in the edge.  Looking down stream there are willows on the inside of the bend and on the far bank some reeds.  I could not see the bottom of the river across the main of its length so that told me it held a decent depth and the flow was a gentle slow trot that looked great for a float.  That is about all i knew looking at the swim and as i say fishing it all day you learn a hell of a a lot so we will look again at the end of the sesison to see what the swim was really like.

By the time the bait waiter was in the water and the keep net nestled next to it i had already been trickling in some bait on the line i was hoping to fish.  As with all my fishing it was a case of starting easy and only going for the harder line if the fish stop feeding and move out.  Setting the rod up was a doddle compared to my 17ft rod which seemed to take an age and it was not long before i was ready make a cast.  I went With a 10 number 4 float and this was purely for control if i had to go on the far line as i knew i would be losing control due to the lack of length in the rod so i hoped a heavier float would help me stay in connection with the float and the heavier weight would keep it on a settled line.  

A nice depth of 4 ft at the end of the rod tip which dropped to around 6 ft in the middle and over to the far side meant i certainly had a nice depth to fish in.  The first trot down and the float didn't even settle signalling a fish had taken the bait on the drop.  A tiny roach is a predictable start to a session on this river but i knew better fish would be around.

The small roach where in a ravenous mood as they devoured maggots on the drop time and time again and i think most people would have given up thinking that was all that was around.  I drastically upped the feeding to make sure some bait was getting through the swim and a good hand full of hemp down the swim ensured the table was set for the better fish the settle over.

The feeding upped soon showed some results as the odd small chublet started to show among the smaller roach fry, not massive but it showed the better fish where around.  After around half an hour the swim seemed to settle down and the smaller fish either dispersed by the arrival of bigger fish of simple had eaten their fill.  The float now was at least settling and going down swim towards my hemp and the first trot down over my hemp  resulted in this greedy chublet.

A quick check down the chubs throat revealed a ball of hemp and the odd maggot down its throat confirmed some bait was getting through to the fish down the swim.  The quality of the fish certainly improved when the float was getting down through the swim but i knew this would not last on the inside line as the sun moving across was shortening the Shadow on the river where the fish where holding in such bright clear conditions.

The bites went from strength to strength on this line with the odd better roach and chublet coming between smaller fish but predictably the line began to dry up as the shadow retreated.  The only thing to do then is to try and feed a new line.  Whilst i worked the float down the inside line winkling out the odd fish over the bed of hemp i began to feed a new line around 3/4 across the river and i fed this for a good hour before moving onto it.  The hope was to have a few fish lined up on the line when i went over. 

This tactic is a huge risk on a small river like the dane as it does hold a number of snags and apart form the depth of the swim i knew i could be feeding a line that could contain a huge snag in it and wasting my time.  The time came to move over to the far line and i was instantly into some nice roach.

These roach all came right down the swim and i noticed trotting along slightly over depth that the float would settle after casting in but then all of a sudden the bottom number 8 would come into play and the float would dot right down and it was here i was getting my bites.  From this you can work out that there is a slight depression in the river bed her as your number 8 that in the first bit of the trot is dragging along then suddenly drops into the hole and the extra weight registers on the float.  In the low and clear conditions fish really can ball up in places like this and it is amazing just how many fish they can hold. 

The better roach where certainly in the deeper hole so i fed my hemp to fall directly on their location to keep them there and it seemed to work a treat with regular trips down bringing either a chublet or a nice roach.

As the afternoon moved on toward 8pm i expected the bites to come on again so a cheeky feed of the inside line began and with the far bank trot being so difficult to get right with the shorter rod i was relieved to get back to the tip of the rod fishing and in the last hour it did bring a few more fish to the net.

The final net for me went 13.8lb and it was a really enjoyable session on the bank.

My uncle also fared well in his swim with this cracking net of dace and roach.

So from a swim point of view what did we learn? Well we leaned the river was quite a settle depth across its length and it also held that depth for the entire run, a few trots down saw me hitting a snag down the middle of the river that was not moving so it was a sizable branch.  The far run was slightly shallower but the swim then dropped into a deep hole over the far side.  Fish wise we learnt how the fish hug the shadows so we can look out for that in other swims and also consider this swim when the river has colour in it as i reckon you could get the fish to come right under your feet.

All in all a great session on the bank fished with the sun on our backs and it was great to be back out on the bank.

till next time

tight lines