Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Right Time To Fish The River and Cold Weather Top Tips...

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet and speaking of wet how good is it to finally see a bit of the wet stuff falling from the sky! more than overdue and will do our rivers a world of good.  The mild temperatures of late have seen the fish still spread wide and far as we eagerly await the first frosts of the year, all the signs of them coming are there with dew on the windows of the car of a morning but we just need to come out now and find that sparkle of a first glistening on the tarmac as we leave the house, i, like many other anglers can not wait.

In this weeks update the fishing see's us hitting the river just at the right time for it to fish its head off and we both bag up on a morale boosting session on the stick.  The introduction sees me looking at the upcoming weeks fishing i have planned and also an update or recap on my piking to date and we finish with a little bit on how i prepare for winter and cold days on the bank with a few tops tips.

On to the Update...

The Weeks To Come....

November is always a difficult month fishing wise i find as the fish we associate with summer and autumn begin to shut down for winter and the fish like dace, roach, chub and pike are all in transition into their winter quarters it is a time of change, as drastic as the arrival on spring if you look closely, which means fishing can be very hard to predict and as such very hit and miss.

From a river stick float point of view it can be a hard time with leaves coming down the river and with the ground still hard rain can have a huge effect on rivers and see them going from really low and on their bones too completely in flood, just look at the Ribble this past week.  The piker in me is unsure what is going to happen if i am honest with it being only my second full season targeting pike its a bit of a unknown for me as to what to expect as we go through this transition.

The coming weeks will see me targeting the new area i have found to unlock its secrets, im sure there is a pike there that could be very special and in the next week or so i have a social coming up on a huge piece of water with my mates Garry and Ste.  A session i am looking forward too but at the same time i know its a huge step up in my pike fishing, a huge one, just one fish would be a dream come true for me on the day.

River wise i am hoping to spend some time on the banks of the River Dane to again try and fisnd the areas the fish go in winter and best ways to catch them and i am also looking forward to trips on the Dee and other smaller tributaries.  I am certainly going top bite the bullet this year and have a session aimed at catching pike from the Dee.  Having moved away from fishing this river consistently i have missed my run ins with the pike that seemed such a regular occurrence in the past.

Piking Blog Update

The decision to move all my trips to one link is still one that is playing on my mind a lot as it does take a lot of pushing on social media for it to get noticed as there is no space to add links of tags to the post for it to show on search engines.  Actual views do not really matter to me but i do also put a lot of time into catching these fish and it does play a huge part in my fishing so i do want it to be noticed as it is kind of tucked away in the corner of the blog page.

The pike fishing for me is going great i am really enjoying the fishing and getting my teeth into the new challenge this year is presenting with 10 doubles my target and finding and fishing my own areas the next i could  not wish for it to go any better.  There has been an update this week to the blog and there is also one wrote to be added this coming week its great to see my hard work paying off with plenty of fish to blog about, the blanks will come but that's fishing.

I will go into more detail in the coming weeks about the new spot and how it is fishing but at this moment in time i have done 4 morning sessions on there equating to 2 full days fishing time and it has produced i think 9 fish with two of these double figure pike so its going better then the blank i envisioned.

Keep up with the pike blog here:

Preparing for Winter

A common question i receive on the blogs email is around what i do to prepare for winter fishing.  Tackle wise i don't really change any thing as i fish all year with light hook lengths and size 20 hooks so not much changes there and the main place you should be focusing your time on is on LOCATION.  Away from the actual fishing the other main area you should be spending time and investing in is in the stuff you wear on the bank at this time of year as it can be brutally cold at times on the bank especially if you are out in the sticks.

For me i wear thermal socks as well as thermal lines boots, your feet is always the first area to feel the cold for sure and keeping your feet warm is vital.  I do feel having a foot plate on my box really helps as it keeps your feet off the cold ground.  I wouldn't say my set up keeps my feet warm on the bank but i don't sit there thinking my feet are cold which is all you can ask for in the depths of winter.

Working up i probably look like i'm wearing a pair of jeans a hoodie, which i am, but under neath then jeans is a pair of thermal pants and under the hoodie is a tee shirt and a thermal top which at times can see me sweating like mad in the snow but its a lot better than being cold.  A buff for my face is normally just kept for the piking where you can be really inactive waiting for a bite and a thermal bob hat stops you losing heat through your head.  All in all it keeps me warm in the coldest of days on the bank.

Top Tip:  When pouring a brew from your flask fill it to the middle recess in the cup, this way you get twice as many brews and can spread the drinks through the day at closer intervals.

Cracking Session On Stick

From the moment we looked at the chart in my uncles house and saw the Dane was not yet showing the rise in level from the rain over night we knew we where in for a good session.  The river would already be starting to show a bit of colour and would rise during the session which the fish would get on to and feed well, we also knew there was not enough rain for the rise to be mega and push the fish off the feed.  The lovely red sky as we joined the motorway, a perfect start to the days fishing trip.

The main choice on the day was what swim to fish, one swim a fast glide around 4ft deep had the potential to throw up nice nets of roach and dace but on the other hand if the fish where not there it also had the potential to throw up a net full of gudgeon!  The other swim was a deeper swim on a bend that offered a nice slack on the inside, not as much a comfy swim as the first but did again offer the chance of a nice net of fish. 

The fact this swim held a bit more depth and also had a slack on the inside off a sunken tree to try if i was wrong about the amount of rise we would get i chose the second swim.  My uncle settled in a swim down stream, a new swim for us both and one that the extra water would see him able to run a stick through. 

My swim a uniform depth of around 5ft i opted for a 6 number 4 alloy stick and to sum up the autumnal feel of the day with plenty of cloud cover and grey skies the float sat nicely on a bed of autumnal leaves.

The rod set up i began to run the float through and the extra little bit of pace in the river was not yet evident, it would come.  One thing i have learnt about this river is the fact the fish can come right up on the feed so i fed the swim lightly and down stream of there i was casting so my float was settled by the time it reached the area i was feeding, planing to hold back to simulate bait falling through the swim here.  My hemp seed was placed further down stream where i thought the maggots would reach the bottom.

The customary madness of the first bites was instant as fish came quickly to the net, nothing of any size but it was frantic.  It is always like this on this river and the test would come if the bites continued passed the frantic feeding period.  This type of fishing is seen as a special art and although it takes practice to master the actually amount of gear you need is minimal.  This is my side tray for the session and apart from my float and bait that is all i use.

The swim eventually settled down and to my relief the bites started to come on my hemp but the bites where a bit hit and miss to say the least and the session was not looking good.  Around 10am i noticed the odd twig and bits of Himalayan balsam coming down and not long after this the whole flow on the river changed.  The trot gained pace and with it the bites came on strong, it was fantastic fishing.

The type of fishing i love where you can chuck your maggots in, then a good but of hemp and then the float and you hold back right on the spot knowing the bite will come, its stick float fishing at its best.  The float going down and i held the float back just a tiny bit right before my hemp, the finger released of the line and BANG the float would bury and this continued for the rest of the session as dace roach and chublets came one after to the net.

It was evident i had a big shoal of fish in front of me, not of any huge size and certainly nothing to warrant a landing net, but the bites where steady and it was more than i could have asked for.  My uncle down stream was also having a good day and i could hear him striking regular into fish and he had also caught a few nice chub.

The session moved on in to the afternoon and the bites would drop off a little as the shoal spooked but a good pouch hemp saw the fish coming back on the feed.  A session i really enjoyed and come the end of the day it was a shame to pack in.  These sessions go by in the blink of an eye they really do but we have to make the most of them.

My final net went over 14lb and contained quite a lot of individual fish to make that weight up.

My uncle had also caught well and had the extra fight of a few chub to boot.

All in all a session to remember and both rewarding in the fact we had put the time in to learn the river and fish the right swims at the right time to catch the fish and also rewarding  in the fact the fish also turned up.

Till next time

i wish you all tight lines


Monday, 9 November 2015

Tale of Two Rivers and Pike Blog

LA warm welcome to this weeks blog update and it finally feels like i am finding time to get stuff together with the blog.  I have found as the evenings have drawn in my evening jaunts have gone for pike so it has gave me scope to start getting back up to date.  As such i have one blog already ready to go this coming Friday and i am writing this one to go live the following week.  This has come at a great time for me as i do have quite a bit of fishing planned over the next month so finding time could again become a problem so its good to have some backed up.  Commitments to companies like Pondip have been full filled and i have again accepted a product review request from a company as i feel i have the time to put to it, i was declining some interesting opportunities but hey ho i need to be honest with them and myself, the times was just not there.

In this weeks blog update the fishing see's us travelling to two rivers in one day in search of silvers and what an adventure it was, a proper road trip.  The introduction includes a bit about piking in the form of how i am going to blog my pike trips this year and also a little on my thoughts on pike etiquette and how i see the unwritten rules being openly flaunted.  We finish the introduction with my dad going the extra mile for his son piking in the bitter cold.  I hope you enjoy the update so go put the kettle on make a brew and enjoy the update.

My Pike Blog....

I was thinking a lot this year about how to go about blogging my pike fishing and i mulled over a few ideas.  Pike fishing is a lot more relaxed than my river fishing and as such you can go into detail about rigs and different set ups for each location you are on.  The spare time waiting for a bite does also open up the opportunity for some video blogging which is also something i have looked at and hopefully will be able to do this year and include them in how i am going to blog my piking.

I have decided to move the piking onto its separate page within the blog and it will sit at the top bar of the page under 2015/16 Pike Season.  This allows me to write a smaller recap blog of each trip and hopefully document the whole season as it happens.  There are a number of potential stumbling blocks with this idea though and it might end up with some duplication on this blog and that one.  Potential problems could be if the rivers flood and i go out solely pike fishing that weekend away from the river then i would have no content for the main blog.  The other stumbling block could also be the sheer amount of writing on one page as you can not split the page down into bits it is one continuous living document with the most recent trip added to the bottom. 

It does though allow me to divide my different fishing up and allows people visiting the blog to go to the area that most interests them.  With no tabs or labels its going to have to be promoted by myself for it to be noticed as i don't think it will show on google searches like my other updates do.  Either way i hope you enjoy the diversity i am trying to put into the blog and enjoy reading about my adventures on the bank in search of pike, of course the ups and the downs will be featured.

The first few trips are live here:

The First Rule of Pike Club

As mentioned above i have toyed with the idea of putting together a few video blogs and putting them on here or Youtube but the number on thing that has stopped me has been the fact it would be nearly impossible to put together a decent video blog without compromising the locations i fish.  I have had many comments over the years that i should name the venues i fish and i don't for the safety of the pike and of course the fact that with piking there is a huge amount of hours put in learning good spots and tactics that work and i think recently some people are forgetting that we should not be naming locations where pike are caught.

I read only this week about a club member who had gone out fishing caught a few pike yet the report mentioned the exact location he had fished to catch them, why? the number one rule of pike club is you don't talk about the locations you fish publicly.  By all means report a member had a fish on such a location but then do not go on to mention the exact place.  This does no favours for the pike safely from people looking for areas to target pike for the pot and also is disrespectful to the anglers who put huge amount of time in and in fact goes to show how far these people are detached from real angling, wrong so wrong.

Love my Dad...

So I'm away fishing recently and sat there on the bank i was travelling light hoping to cover as much water as possible.  A quick look to my right and threes a guy huddled up sipping coffee while the guy to my left looked to be breaking out some refreshing soup!  The wind howling in my face and not even a chair to sit on i had no choice but to make the call, the call for supplies.  My dad answered and asked where i was, a despondent sigh at my out of the way location was received.  He said he would put me a flask together and run it through for me, what a star.,

Well 40 minutes later on the horizon i saw my shining night, carrier bag in hand.  He then began pulling from the bag all manner of tin foil parcels!  Got to say he went the extra mile for me, two rounds of door stop toast and 3 choccy biscuits i was one happy camper!  Washed down with a nice warm brew and even had a pike to grace the moment.  Fantastic stuff, the best dad in the world.

On to this weeks update

A tale of two Rivers.....

Autumn and its a time of year we always associate with pike but it is also a time where my trotting senses start getting into the mind set for Roach.  This time of the year roach seem to start shoaling up, maybe they are the first silver fish to do this, maybe not, the mystery of angling is where the magic is.  All we knew was there was a good head of roach in the River Dee and last year we had done well for them so we set the sat nav for the banks of the Dee and headed off into the night.

Arriving on the banks we where met with an angler, also eager to wet a line, but also it seemed eager to deter possible competition,  "fishing rubbish here passed few weeks only small dace" was his line.  My head was thinking he was very eager to get on the bank to chase these small dace given  it was still dark.  We unloaded the gear and made the 10 minute walk to the swims. 

It is an area of the dee that is super deep under your feet and my memory serving me right i was at the tip of my 17ft rod last year.  Pluming up this year i was finding depths of longer than my rod could manage so i was already not happy to not be fishing bottom.  The swim seems to be a huge depression in the river bed as the river does shallow up further out and further down the swim it seemed.  I plumbed up and found a run there i would be on bottom where i thought my hemp was hitting the deck.  It took a while to get the first fish but when it came and it was a nice fat plump roach my enthusiasm went up a few notches.

My uncle slightly down stream was getting plenty of knocks but nothing solid to strike at.  He then landed a Roach that was to say the least massive, easily the biggest roach i have seen.  The splash at it hit his keep net confirming a sizable bar of silver.  I managed to put a few more roach in the net but nothing like my uncles of the first fish i had caught early on.

The morning wore on and our swims completely died, there was not such much as a knock or even a sign of fish around and the river looked dead with no fish topping like they had earlier.  It was time to make a decision as even leaving now by the time we had packed up and loaded the car and reached the river it would be getting on for midday.  We decided to make a move and drop on the River Dane on the way home.  Mine and my uncles roach from the morning shown below.

Travelling down the A roads we where soon on the banks of another river and to be honest it looked as low as i have ever seen her and really clear, i didn't hold out much hope arriving in the middle of the day.  Setting up in the closest swim i had a snag to my left but the trot was just off rod tip around a sweeping slow bend with plenty of water and slacks that could hold fish.

I was into fish from the off with dace being the main quarry and i was amazed at the sport if i was honest i was expecting a really hard session and again goes to show how you think you know a place and them boom nature throws what you think out of the window!  The fish took some messing around to keep them coming like following them right down to the extremity of the swim and changing depth to try a deeper line kept the bites coming.

Feeding also plays a huge part in it as well and i love nothing more than throwing hand fulls of maggots at a swim and getting a positive response from the fish with a bite a chuck but on this session i really trickled the bait in, literally 3 maggots every run through.

The final net was quite good considering the short amount of time we spent on the actual river

Till next time i wish you all tight lines and i hope the fish gods are good to you all.