Friday, 30 October 2015

Roach on the Bolo....

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  From a blogging point of view i am currently two trips behind schedule.  This is not necessarily a bad thing as a back log means i have plenty of content there stored ready to write about and also means when i do get some free time i can write a couple of updates at once and schedule them to go live over time.

At this moment in time i am into my pike season and loving it i have had some tough times already and had a nice capture already but most of all i am enjoying my pike fishing.  As you will read in coming blogs i now have my 17ft rod back in action and feel prepared now for any river we tackle.

In this weeks update i will be covering a very very special session by long time blog follower and good friend Garry had on the bank recently and we finish the introduction with a little bit on a gift i was sent by a fellow blogger to review and develop, a product i am really excited about. 

On to the update...

Pike Heaven for Garry...

Two years ago struggling on the canal to get a bite and with the wind howling in my ear i was close to giving up on my new pike dead bait adventure.  I was wet behind the ears in this branch of our sport and as always my blogs at the time where brutally honest in reporting the blanks i was going through.  It was not long after returning home i received a message from Garry offering to help me out and through a number of messages he got me to a stage where i was confident in what i was doing was right and given time i would catch pike.

Over the coming moths a few messages developed into actually going out on the bank together and again Garry was really help full in showing me how to tie my own wire traces and what knots i should be using.  Always happy to help i discovered he had helped many people over the years and with piking and it was great to see someone willing to give so much back into the sport.  I was very lucky last year to catch a fish of a lifetime and looking at the set up i caught it on it was so much more refined from the set up i was blanking on in those early day, hell i caught it on my own tied wire trace for one.

Garry's target since i have met him  has been to beat his personal best pike of i think 14lb 10oz and through the two years he has come so close with huge pike that where hollow to catching obvious 17-20lb pike that where low on weight due to hooks stopping them feeding.  Well on the 14th October at 5.30pm it all came together for him, it all came good, here is your blog mucka...

Leaving work at 4.30pm i was undecided as to whether or not to make the 40 minute journey through reams of traffic to see how Garry was doing on his day off pike fishing.  A early morning call on my break had revealed he was struggling and it was no surprise with temperatures rising to 15oc!  A quick text revealed he had moved from his morning haunt and when i arrived on the bank i was met with a man frustrated having tried every trick in the book to get a bite.  "last time i was here it was all tiny jacks" was a comment from me that in hindsight did little to improve the situation.  It seemed like i was there only a few seconds before Garry's left hand rod bounced once, causing a circular ripple to erupt across the surface in all directions around his bubble float, a slow move to the right and the float slid away.  A hard strike saw the float staying in the water and his rod bent into a nice curve, i moved his other rod into the margin and grabbed the net.  The fish at first seemed to just stay in one spot coming slowly up a little in the water columns.  I think this suddenly awoke the pike to the fact all was not well and in one long run the pike zoomed off taking line from the reel as it went.  This fish was not messing around at all and its size, unknown at this point, was added to by the fact Garry had no choice but to walk along the muddy banks with the fish to keep up with it.

"Got to be a nice fish Garry" and then she came up for the first time, "Jesus she wont fit in the net!" was the general consensus and this confirmed to me Garry was connected to a certain pb and at this point i knew it was at least a mid to upper double.  The fish came into the waiting net and her head about to grace the mesh she violently turned away on another run!!.  Holding the net i had flash backs of a lost fish where the hooks got stuck in the net and the fish flipped to safety, taking no chances we waited for the fish come in but time and time again the fish shot off at the sight of the net!. 

Walking back we knew we needed to get the fish in this time and walking back Garry eased the fish in and with a deep scoop she was in the net and Garry had his long awaited prize!.  The fish on the unhooking mat she was a fat fish with plenty of depth and width to her, to not be a personal best at this point she would have needed to been made of balsa wood, a proper pike.  It sent me straight back to a year ago for me and i wanted to make sure i captured as much of this special moment as possible for Garry so he had plenty of stuff to look back on and remember.  A few videos and a plenty of nice pictures we rested the pike in the net while we set it all up.  At 19lb 4oz he had demolished his personal best.

All the hours on the bank and numerous pike captures to get to this moment and i was privileged to have shared this moment with Garry given the fact he had helped me so much with my pike fishing. It was amazing to see such a nice pike on the bank but also see Garry bouncing up and down the bank full of excitement and jubilant at his new personal best.  It en captured everything that is so special about fishing for me, nothing in this wold can beat that feeling of walking on air after the capture of such a beautiful pike.

The session did not stop there for Garry as for the next hour his rods went mad with 3 more pike, 2 jacks and a pike of 15lb that would have been his personal best 30 minutes earlier.  Again another cracking fish.

Looking at these pictures I'm right back there on the bank with him sharing that moment and it was a privilege to have been there.  Well done mate and here's to the rest of the season to come!

Pike Float Perfection..

The blogging fishing world is at times just like one big community we all share the same passion for writing about our catches and all kind of have our own niche.  One fellow blogger, mike Cootes, writes a very good blog around his adventures on the bank but he also makes his very own floats.  All his floats till now have been stick floats or wagglers aimed at silver fishing but he recently we got into talks about me possibly looking at his new prototype pike float with a view of using it and feeding back any improvements.

As you can see from the pictures above the floats are as pretty as a picture and i was really excited to receive the float in post.  The float was fantastically packaged and protected so when i opened it up it was as beautiful as as the pictures suggested.  The float felt as light as a feather and at first i thought a little small, i was expecting it to be a lot bigger from pictures, i did wonder as to what the weight capacity of the float would be, the ultimate test being getting it out on the bank.

The line threaded through the float fine and sat on the line i could feel no weight at all on the line, everyone bangs on about resistance in this game and if that's the case no fish was feeling a thing from this float.  I went out on the bank on Sunday with this float for the first time and my usual 18 gram weight took the float to the red on the float so it gives me the option to fish on the bottom of a bait suspended.  You will read about the trip in coming blogs but as a sneak peak it has already claimed its first pike....

All in all i feel really privileged to have been sent the bespoke and personalised item of tackle it really does feel good to use it, my only worry now being losing the float!  A few more trips and i can give a full feed back report on the float but if you are looking for an item of tackle with that special touch whether for fishing a river or lake check out mikes blog on the link below!!

Mkes Blog:

on to this weeks fishing...

Roach on the Bolo!!

A new venue always gets the blood flowing with me and even more so when that new venue is a river!  Most of the fishing i do and new venues we fish is down to our hard working in scouting them out but on this occasion it was a nice tip off from a friend.  We hit the bank at dark thirty like we always do and with the mist rising from the river and the sun peaking over the horizon it was a magical moment to get on the river bank.

I only had my 13ft rod on this session and i just hoped and prayed the water in front of me was manageable for me.  Pluming up i found a nice run on the shelf dropping into a deeper channel around 10-11ft deep.  I started off on the stick and was instantly into fish and nice ones to boot which got me thinking if this was the average stamp we were in for a good days sport.

Although the float was going under regular i was missing or bumping a lot of bites.  I had a quick visit from Ste and despite speaking to him a lot on the blower and on Facebook it was great to have a face to face catch up and of course talk turned to the pike season.  I quickly changed over to a bolo float and as the sun was getting up and the sky was clear made up some ground bait to hopefully get some colour into the water.

The change over to the bolo certainly made all the difference with the bumping bites of missed bites suddenly being turned into fish on the bank and at around 5-7oz a piece some of the roach where a pleasure to catch.  I plodded along and was genuinely amazed at the quality of the roach as time and time again a palm sized roach graced my welcoming hands.

My uncle was having trouble with pike taking his fish so i decided to take a break from the trotting and see if we could land the toothy piscator from his swim.  A roach fished mid water was soon picked up and despite it not being the start of the pike season, it felt fantastic to be playing a pike again and had me looking forward to the October pike season.

The pike returned i returned to my peg and resumed my quest for roach and it was some of the best fishing we have had this year.  It really gives me great pleasure catching in deep water as it was large depths where i struggled so much in my early years so to be able to go a new venue and not be daunted by 10-12ft of water was a great feeling.  The roach continued to feed confidently and what was even better was they fed right on where i was feeding my spicy homemade chilli hemp, maggot being the hook bait.

The day drew to an end and it was time to look at the nets we had caught, with all the pike activity i expected a empty net with a hole in if i was honest! A 13lb net of red fins for me and 11lb for my uncle, a top days sport.

my net

 uncle net

Well that wraps up another week of fishing on the blog, till next time,

tight lines


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Stick Float Fishin' For Chub...

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  Life at the moment is about as hectic as it comes with the little mastering crawling at speed and also learning to climb its all go keeping tabs on him although my plan to test my delkims for the coming pike season by typing line to his feet and running it though the sensor seems a sound one!  Away from home and i recently applied to be deputy in work and that is just starting to involve my devoting my attention to this, all this along with making preparations for the coming pike season its safe to say every aspect of my life is really chaos at the moment, its good to be busy though.

Sometimes i have no choice but let this blog take a back seat, something has to give and as this is a hobby and does not really put money on the table as such it is always the first thing i have to drop, there literally is not enough hours in the day to get it all done.  As such it has meant my normal schedule for uploading on a Friday evening and writing my blog on my dinner hour in work is not possible so the updates for the foreseeable future will be a bit sporadic.

That bit of life trivia out of the way lets get into this update...

First Pike Social Booked!!

So we are literally days off the start of he new pike season and i had booked the 1st of October off work with the view of a early attack on the waterways that had produced for me last year.  The blog is there for me to share my fishing adventures with the world but it does also offer me and journal of my visits to the bank.  Although i do not share locations on the posts, through fear of it attracting the wrong type of people in poachers, i know myself where i have fished on each session so as such i can look back through my own blogs and look at locations that fished well at certain times of year.

Work came up to me a few days ago and mentioned that the leave was really low on the day i had booked so i agreed to come in on the 1st October and swapped it for the following Tuesday.  Garry, a fellow piker, is not able to get out on the bank till the 6th October so it will be a great social for us both to start our piking campaign.  Talks have been on going for the past week but we have settled on a location and a plan of action for the day.  I will of course be heading out with the same mentality i did last year, aim for one fish on the bank and go from there.  Writing this now i am really excited to get out and although it is not mentioned in this update the weekend just gone i managed a pike on the bank and it really has lit the torch for the piker inside to be released again!!

Pike Season Ahead - My Plans and Mindset......

So we sit on the cusp of the start of the new season and looking back over October last year i really did hit the ground running.  My fist session on the bank saw me banking 5 pike, nothing massive but with the target of 100 pike it got the ball rolling and i was on my way.  October was a month to remember for me with me breaking my Personal Best twice with one pike going over 20lb and shortly in November i had days where i caught multiple doubles in one day.  This is fantastic and great memories but what i have to do this year is keep my feet on the ground, continue to build on lessons learnt last season and always know that this season may be very different and it may be a season where i don't land lucky on bigger fish and i do not have half as much success as i did last season.  I have to remain realistic about it and be prepared to work a lot harder for my captures whilst also remembering to enjoy what has become a time of the year i look forward to so much now.

This season i will obviously be continuing to share the bank with my piking mates Ste and Garry and although Ryan has moved further afield now i am sure he will make the odd appearance on trips with his supermarket jumbo mackerel baits.  Towards the end of last season i was really happy to spend some time on the bank with one of Stes mates, Dave, a man who was coming back into fishing after a gap and was keen to try pike fishing.  Me. still wet behind the ears in my piking baptism, was happy to help him as much as i could and i was really impressed by his determination and passion for the sport and i can not wait to see him catch his first double.

The target last season of 300 or 400 pike, 30 doubles and 1 twenty pound pike did give us all focus during the season with us all working towards a common goal but i myself did find i was going places to catch numbers of fish rather than going places where the chances of less fish but of a larger size was possible.  The list also unavoidably took over and really at times did dictate locations i fished and also, especially towards the end where 100 was i sight, developed a unhealthy obsession with getting out fishing.

This season is slightly different as we have done away with the huge total target of hundreds of pike and also the twenty pound target has also been done away with and we have set a fun, but achievable goal, of 40 double figure pike between us.  That equates to 10 doubles each and this gives us all freedom to devote a days fishing to a 1 take but a big fish water without worrying the pike total is not moving.  Moving into my second year of piking i am really seeing this as a target i should be achieving but i fully know how frustrating piking can be so if i don't reach it then that's life as they say.  My own personal goals for the year are to have fun and utilise methods i picked up last year and put them into practise.  Here's to the adventures to come.

Chubbers Delight.....

Fishing for me now is like a ritual, its part of my weekly routine and as such it is very rarely that sequence is broken.  Saturday morning comes around and loading the car i head to my uncles to pick him up, a quick chat and we set of in search of new adventures on the bank.  This week was different as an opportunity of overtime in work saw my uncle missing the trip out this week.

Regular blog readers will remember my blogs about piking last year where i openly documented how i found it hard heading out on my own and spending time on the bank.  A big part of my fishing is the craic and laugh we have and the sharing of achievements or sussing out new areas, this session was different as the seat next to me was empty and the tackle fist easily into my boot with no need for tactile persuasion. 

No rain for a week saw all the rivers running low and clear so it was a case of picking the best of what was available.  It may sound unusual but i chose the part of the river where it was really shallow and running low and it was for good reason.  Why would you not head for the deep areas with plenty of cover from the sun? That is a very good question but think about it like this, when the river is at its normal level or has some water in the fish can be in any swim along the length but on a shallow river running low the  natural deep spots and dark areas where you can not see the bottom are where all the fish will be crammed into.  So you will have all the fish from one area of the river in one deep hole and this includes the trout, chub, dace and gudgeon.

Fishing these holes in the river you will get quick results but the fish will spook eventually but what you have straight away is competition for food and this not only helps you get the fish out with minimal disruption to the shoal but when they do spook you are literally running bait right through them, they have no where else to go so eventually the will to feed and not turn up a free meal takes over and the fish come back on.

I moved away from my normal mantra of taking my tackle box and sitting in one swim all day and decided to lighten up my gear and walk the bank trying to land on a nice shoal of chub, i would know it once i found the swim to stay in.  The first swim i arrived in i knew held some nice chub and setting up in the light of my head torch i could see the slow was going directly where i wanted it to and where i would expect to find the fish.  Feeding the swim as i set up the first trot through i eagerly awaited the battle of a chub.  Rivers are weird animals and despite fishing a 4 number 4 stick float the flow that looked steady held no power to even pull the float through the swim!!  A change of plan and a move to approach the swim from a different angle saw me trotting away for a good two hours with a dace and chub to show for my efforts.

Knowing the potential of the river and sat there knowing the chub where there i stubbornly remained in station before admitting defeat.  Moving on down river it was great to travel light with just a rod, landing net, keep net bag and pockets full of bits i was up and away in no time.  I hit the first swim, a short glide along some overhanging blackberry bushes i caught a few nice dace but after hitting a big trout and losing it i knew it was time to move on.

My hopes of fishing a deep bend where dashed by a herd of cows and a big bull in the field who i knew would not welcome my intrusion so i settled in on the bend upstream.  The flow right under my feet i had the option to run right along the inside snags but it was filled with risk.  Hooking the fish would be no problem but getting it out would be the main issue.  The fast flow on my inside had gouged out a deep run but it had also created a deep slack on its inside and i targeting this as my main point if attack.  In went a good handful of hemp and i began feeding maggots, building up the fishes confidence, first run though and a dace fell to the baiting up tactic.

The next few trots through the swim brought the ever confident but ever annoying bites from minnows as one by one i ploughed through these fish.  Its a game i first played on the banks of the river dane on the Warrington anglers stretch many moons ago, anglers would turn up with all manner of big baits like cheese paste, worm, bread, meat and so on and i armed with a few pints of maggot would head off.  I knew i would be getting bites every time down from minnows but i also knew that once the minnows went it was CHUB TIME!.  So these minnows although a irritant gave me great insight to what was happening below the water and sure enough all of a sudden the minnow bites went and i struck into the bottom or as us river anglers know them a chub.  The swim i was in allowed no room to give the fish an inch and like all chub it knew where safety was, in this swim, all the overhanging brambles.  Plenty of side strain and the tip of my 13ft float float well under the water she bent round in a smooth satisfying bend

The chub in the net i was one happy angler and after a quick picture it was into the keep net as not to spook the shoal that was down there.  I was proven not to be wrong either as the very next cast the bait dropped of the ledge into the deep dark water and bang under the float went and i was into another chevin.  A great battle with plenty of hairy moments along the way but with the drag set right and my 1.7 bottom holding i was in control and waited for that first opportunity to net the fish and reduce commotion in the swim.

These two fish came at 11.10 and 11.14 am and a good 20 minutes passed till the next chub at 11.37.  This marked a landslide of bites from the chub as fish came one a chuck to the net for the next half hour with chub coming at 11.45am, 12.01am, 12.08am, 12.16am.

After weeks catching dace and roach an not much else having the carbon bend double was an amazing feeling and boy did that feel good!  I decided to call it a day there as in the warm conditions i was fully aware that the chub had been in the net four a good 2 hours.  Releasing them i new would kill the swim completely so i packed down the gear and prepared my camera and unhooking matt for a quick picture of the net of fish.    Seven chub in total i was over the moon and even more happy as to how well behaved the chub where for the picture, a first time shot was acquired for the blog and back the chub went. 

Not out fishing for another week the maggots where looking a little worse for wear and certainly would not last till the next weekend so as a thank you gesture i deposited a good half pint of maggots into the swim.  They, and the minnows, would get through them in no time.

Well that's another blog update completed, i am a little far behind on trips, purely down to life away from angling.  Finding time to blog is so hard at the moment so please bear with me i will get them out as soon as possible.

Till next week

Tight lines