Sunday, 28 August 2016

18lb River Net On The Bolo....Great Fun!!

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  Car troubles have plagued last weeks build up to the session and this has continued into this weeks trips to work, nothing serious to report yet but you know the old girl is not right and its a matter of time.  Fingers crossed she get me to the river and back this weekend.

Serious update About Canal Featured Recently In Blog:

It has been a mixed week this week weather wise and i am at this moment unsure just what conditions will face us come Saturday.  There has been one piece of disturbing news this week and it is around my canal fishing.  A stretch of the Bridgewater Canal i have featured heavily in this blog of late has recently been the scene of a viscous assault and mugging.  A woman was attacked by three men who beat her up and then mugged her.  It is sad we live in such times it really is and i wish the lady a speedy recovery.

From a fishing point of view it has made me think twice about sessions on this part of the canal.  One person causing you trouble is one thing but three is another matter and at the times of the day i fish there i feel its just asking for trouble from people who have no care of their fellow human beings.  I thought it worth a mention as well just in case local anglers who read the blog had read my exploits and where thinking of trying the stretch for themselves.  Please take care.

Social Media Update:

Its great to see the blog steadily doing well on Social Media and from its creation on sites like Twitter and Facebook i have never been one to run endless competitions and pay to advertise the blog on these platforms as i much prefer 10 people to like the page through finding it and finding it interesting over 200 just liking it to try and win a competition.

With that mentality the Twitter page recently hit 2000 follows and the Facebook this week reached the landmark of 750 likes.  Thank you to all who follow the blog on these pages and please remember these pages where set up for followers to share their angling exploits.  The Ban list on these pages remains at zero which given the shenanigans on other pages i see is a credit to the people on the page.  Again a huge thank you to all who keep up with the blog on these and again feel free to share your angling exploits.

On to the Fishing:-

18lb Net Fishing the Bolo Float...

After our success the weekend before these was only ever going to be one place we where fishing come Saturday but it was not all plain sailing a decision it sounds as rain on the Friday and reports of heavy rain and severe thunderstorms on the Saturday making us question if we should even bother.   Weather very rarely comes into my decision making process as to whether or not to bother going fishing but i have to admit i am in no hurry to become a human conductor.

I must admit as well that i am not a huge fan of fishing under an umbrella i find them cumbersome an irritant when trying to cast out and also then when concentrating on the float i find myself worrying more about my brolly blowing in than the fishing.  Add to that the extreme extra weight added to your holdall to take such apparatus it really puts a downer on my fishing and normally i just sit in the rain and fish through it but with severe weather warnings i knew we where in for a rough ride.

We crossed the river a few times on our way to our chosen destination and on one of the more lit spots we decided to jump out and take a look.  There was already a strong wind blowing down the river and i quickly worked that our section of river would be at the same angler so there was a good chance we would be facing a strong down stream wind with the odd gust in our faces, exciting stuff.

Set up wise it was a mirror of last weeks set up.  My 17 Preston Innovations Carbon active float rod fishing a 3 Gram Maver Bolo down to a bulk shot of weights all attached to a 1.7lb Kamasan Bayer Perlon hook length and a size 16 hook.  The major difference on this  session was the amount of bait.  Last time i fell short and actually ran out so this time i was taking no chances as i went armed with nearly 3 pins of maggot and nearly the same of hemp.

The river alive with fish topping we knew we where on fish but it was also clear from the sky above we did not have long to get set up before our first soaking.  I had a fair idea of the peg from last week and i knew the inside line had a decent snag on it and the main line was about 2 rod lengths out in about 8-9ft of water.

From the off i was getting plenty of bites but hitting them was another matter, they where lightning  quick and a far cry from last weeks solid bites.  There was a huge head of fish in the swim as the float was getting banged all the way from casting in to half down my swim to the hemp and all of a sudden it would be a fast bite, hit it small roach miss it a mashed maggot.

There was the odd better stamp of roach around but not in the numbers as last week and certainly not of the stamp.

It got to a pint where the fish where lifting mt float clean out of the water as the 3gram bolo was not getting through and although i was getting bites i was hitting about one 1 on 4 of them.  River fishing is a real thinking game and i had to change something about my approach.  I moved my box so i was facing more down stream and i started feeding my hemp further down the run and i also started casting down stream.

The difference in sport was dramatic and that change of angle and striking at a float down stream saw the missed bites turning into fish and it seemed the better stamp of roach where around but where holding down the swim.

The bites turned into fish i was soon putting regular fish into my keep net.  The odd better fish was was about in the league of last weeks but the majority of fish where small roach.  I then struck into something that straight away zoomed down stream taking line form the reel.  It was a strong powerful fish that put up a great fight on light tackle.

A cracking hybrid was the reward and was easily the best fish of the day.

The fish showed the potential of the area to produce even better nets than last week, a net full of those hybrids would certainly be something.  I continued to pick up bites steadily and suffered through the odd rain shower but luckily the weather man got it wrong on the thunderstorms.  Towards the end of the session the wind turned and blew violently upstream causing some huge waves to come lapping up the river.

Thankfully this came around 3pm when we planned to pack in so it was not too much of a problem.

Weighing the nets i felt i had around 10lb of fish and i was shocked to weigh the net and find i had caught 18lb of fish.  It was a hard worked for net where i had to swap and change and really think about the fishing to get the fish.  I could have easily been there missing those bites and ended with nothing.

I left the river feeling i had certainly come on as an angler from season to season as i think last year i would not have had the confidence or know how to change and get the bites and may have even given in through frustration.  It is a great feeling leaving the bank with a sense of accomplishment.

Till next time

i wish you all tight lines


Friday, 19 August 2016

23lb of River Roach On Bolo & Canal Tinca......

A war welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  A few days booked off work last weekend and to start it off was a session on the river.  We knew little about whether the fish would be shoaled up on the spots but after a few hard weeks we knew it was time to go all out and see what was on offer and what a session awaited us.

The second part of the blog is a session i did recently on the canal where i decided to target an area with the idea of maximising the fish i could catch.  More on my thought processes and reasons in the update but lets just say one fish had me walking up and down the bank.  We start this update off thought with a bit of an introduction chat on the upcoming pike season that is well and truly in my thoughts right now.

On with the update..

Piking Just round the Corner...

So chilling out this week i get a message of my piking buddy Garry asking if i wanted in on our usual annual bait order and i have to say the text had me checking the calendar and low and behold we are just over a month away from the start of the pike season.  My god this has sneaked up on my and to be honest it just does not feel right just now to be even thinking about pike, least not on days where the mercury is creeping up to 90 degrees.

The order does need doing though and after two years pike fishing i think i am starting to develop confidence in certain baits as this years order, without the value back,  does only really contain around 3-5 species of dead baits. I will of course go more into the bait order when it arrives in a future blog but i thought i would just touch base with it here to let the blog know that piking is well and truly starting to weigh heavy in my thoughts.

Of course last years pike season was well documented in this week by week round up here:

One thing is for sure in this pike season and that is the fact there will be new adventures on new waters to me and with some big pike under my belt and nothing to really aim for the pressure is off and its time to build on past seasons and take this to brand new areas to see if i can tempt the odd big girl.  As mentioned previous more on my hopes and aspirations closer to the start of the season.

23lb River Roach On The Bolo....

The passed few weeks have been really tough for me and my uncle on the rivers with low clear conditions on one river seeing the bites die as soon as the sun come up and the other river we fished being a bite a chuck but swims begin ravaged by pike and killing any sport.  In short i had a choice to make i could either be selfish and go back the smaller river and try all out for barbel knowing i would be in for a shout but my uncle would be enduring a pike ridden time in a swim or we could go all out on a whim and try a completely different river all together and see if the fish had arrived in their summer and autumn haunts, we decided on the later.

The above paragraph illustrates just how fishing together you have to be a team and think of each others fishing.  The river was a good walk from the parking spot and involved the odd hilly climb and a short section of dense brambles, it was clear no one was fishing these spots recently, just our cup of tea.  We finally arrived in the swims and we decided to both fish the same swim, i was on the bolo and my uncle was going to try and fish the pole and stick float.  The ultimate aim of the session was to get the odd bite and be close enough have a natter.

I shocks me when people email me saying they live near a river but are unsure how to fish it as it looks complicated when the truth is river fishing is so basic and simple in its design and the true learning of the art form comes form repetition and putting the time in to learn how to read a river and run a float through. A quick look at my side tray shows how simple the gear is i use, 1.7lb bayer perlon line for hook lengths, size 16 hooks 3 gram bolo float and some everyday weights.  This in its entirety covers everything that goes on the line from top to bottom.

To those interested in fishing a bolo and wondering how you set it up i plum the depth with no weights at all on the line to get a true depth and then fishing a hook length around a foot long i place 3 number 8 droppers evenly spaced on the hook length.  Above all these i put most of the weight in a bulk to cock the float so only the red of the float shows, doing this you leave enough weight to place a small number 8 weight beneath your float.  This weight servers two purposes in of course stopping the float sliding on the line and i find it begins the settle the float as soon as it hits the water meaning its easier to pick up those bites on the drop.

Catching a lot on the river does not have to be expensive at all, you can make it expensive when you go down the ground bait line, but in general i take 2 pints of maggot and a pint of hemp for most of my river fishing, a great days fishing can be had on around 6 quids worth of bait it really can.

 The swim was around 8 feet deep and was of a similar depth along its length till it felt like it shallowed up at its tail.  Plumbing up a bit further out it did drop away again by a couple of inches but my initial thought was to see what i could catch on the deck and then see if the fish further out would have it just off bottom.  It is sort of killing two birds with one stone way of working out how they are feeding better.

The first few trots down went by without a tap but then slowly the odd bite started to develop with a small billy perch and the odd small roach.  A severe upstream wind was meaning the float was holding back lovely in the swim and on the day i think this certainly helped the swim.

Bites then started to come thick and fast as it was clear a big shoal of roach had moved into the swim.  It seemed bites from smaller roach where hard to hit and i missed loads of bites on the day but when the float buried with a proper roach there was no missing the bite and on some occasions i cast in, fed with the catapult, saw the float go under and still had time to grab the rod and strike.

After the first hour the swim was alive with roach as time and time again the bolo would slide away.  I knew with so much prey about a pike would soon be attracted and no sooner had i mentioned this fact to my uncle than a flash of green appeared under the surface as a small jack nailed a nice roach.  I could see the jack pike and it was no bigger than the roach.

On the day it shocked me how the swim recovered after the pike attacks, this pike would nail the odd fish but being too big to swallow it would let go and in would come a roach with a small half moon crescent bite on it.  He was on me all day but thankfully it didn't seem to bother the swim.

As the session wore on a pattern began to emerge and i started to notice that the bigger roach where holding just that bite further out than i was feeding my hemp.  A few of the better ones below.

You would nail a couple on the bounce and then a move back into the nearside line would see you pickling up an average stamp roach of a few ounces.  As the session wore on i could feel i was putting a decent net of roach together and chatting to my uncle he was sure i had over 15lb in the net as the average size of the fish was steady.

I actually ran out of hemp on the session but kindly my uncle provided me with a nice top up for the last hour.  I did think about changing over to corn but in my head i was thinking "why change anything? i am catching steady and a nice stamp"  I guess a bigger bait like corn might have picked out these better roach time and time again but given i was a bite a chuck i felt i needed not to change anything in my approach.

As with all memorable river sessions it all went by too fast and before i knew it the sun had come over and it was time to pack in.  It is always a killer packing in when the fish are still having it and i am sure had i fished on into the evening the fish would have come on even more and we would possibly have been looking at a very special net indeed.

The final net went 23lb 8oz! and was mainly made up of roach with the odd chublet, hybrid and 1 dace!

All in all a very special session on the river and although as i write this now terrible weather is battering at the window i can not wait to get out tomorrow morning back on the river and this time armed with more bait i pray i find the fish hungry, although in these conditions a fish might be a result.

Bridgewater Canal Fishing Session - Battles with a Tinca.....

A warm day previous saw me arriving on the canal to be met by one of the most beautiful red skies i have ever seen.  When people ask what will you miss most about fishing if you packed in tomorrow i would certainly say the special moments you experience like this when you know the world around you is asleep and there in that moment you are completely worry free and in ore of mother natures beauty.

First things first and it was as always mixing up the ground bait so by the time i had set up it was ready to be riddled.  Swim choice on the day was a bit factor for me, in the stretch there is no shortage of cover and fishy looking spots but on this session i was a man with a plan.

I walked the length till i found what i was looking for and i found it just after a boating dock.  A canal boat on the far side and the fact the canal narrowed slightly here meant i could fish a line on only a few sections of pole and be right by the boat and i could also fish another line on the 2m whip under feet.  My hopes for the session where to really be aggressive and attack the swim to see how much i could catch before the boats started up.

Over the far bank line went 3 big balls of ground bait laced with hemp and red maggot and i left this to settle while i fished the whip close in.  Feeding small balls of slop i was soon picking up roach a chuck under my feet and i would say in that first hour i picked up a steady weight of fish with the odd better roach.

The swim under my feet began to slow down, this is normal for the canal it seems, so it was time to try over my far bank line.  The float slid away straight away with a nice skimmer so i straight away went in with another big ball of ground bait.  My hope was for the better bronze bream to settle in the swim and the extra feed to keep them there.

Fishing maggot i knew i would be picking up anything that swims and it was literally a bite a chuck on the far bank line as the float slid away each time it settled.  For a canal it was fantastic fishing and thoroughly enjoyed the early exchanges.  The swim did die momentarily and with fish up in the net i am sure i was visited by a toothy visitor but never actually saw any signs.

The far bank line then again come alive and it felt like the swim had breathed a huge sigh of relief.  Steady bites continued and you can imagine my surprise when i lifted into a fish and it all went sold and then the elastic went zooming down the canal, a carp i was sure.  The fish went right into the thick week and all went solid, shipping back to my top kit i felt sure i was about to be ducking out of the way of a float and hook coming back at me but then something gave and the fish came free, it was still on!

Up and down the canal i walked trying to tire the fish out on a light elastic till eventually i managed to slip my net under a beautiful tench.  A perfect sight on a perfect morning.

The tench in the net i settled back into catching the silvers and it was good fishing till the boats revved up around 9am, one at first and you can cope with them when they come every 10 to 15 minutes one at a time but when they where coming along in threes and fours every five minutes i knew time was called.

A cracking 16lb canal net was my reward.

I think my only regret on this session was not taking corn as i think a bigger bait might have nailed more bream and maybe more tench but still 16lb in only a few hours on the cut i left a happy angler.

tight lines if you are out this weekend and stay safe,

till next time


Sunday, 14 August 2016

Doubles Keep Coming and Bream Delight On River

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and you nets wet.  In life it surely is true that it is impossible to find balance in all aspects of life and boy is that a stage i am going through right now.  I normally split my life into three areas, homes life, fishing and work and you find that at no time or should i say for such a very short time are all three all going well at the same time.  Right now? i would say we are hitting the mark with two of them, in short work is as about as depressing as a job can get, new desk facing the beige wall i talked about in last weeks blog is lets just say not inspirational one bit.  It does serve one purpose though in making you really appreciate the other two aspects, walking out of work and home to the family it really increases that sense of excitement knowing your going home to a happy home and of course when fishing comes along at the end of the week, well lets just say i could not wait to feel that fresh air against my face on Saturday.

Situations like this do also focus the mind and as always i find solace and a sense of escapism from writing these weekly musings, however ironic it might be that most of them are wrote at beige HQ.  Speaking of the blog it really is going from strength to strength under its own steam and on social media it really is being well received with the blogs Twitter account now passing 2k followers and Facebook quickly closing in on 750 likes.  Where this long road of blogging will end god only knows but all i can say is thank you to all those who come back each week to read it and in a world where we have celebrity anglers pushing their sponsors products at anglers in the weekly repetitive mags maybe amateur bloggers portraying their fishing adventures will be where its at in the coming years.

On to this weeks blog update and its just the two trips in this update but when one of the sessions contains over 10 carp then there is going to plenty of pictures for those who just like to flick though the pictures on the blog. The second trip is a trip to a new part of the river searching out unfinished swims along over grown banks.

On to the fishing

A morning of doubles....

Travelling to the lake i had began to get a feel for where the carp would be and more importantly where to present my baits.  The shocking thing i was finding was how quiet the banks where.  Arriving at first light i never really had to worry about getting in a swim or the bread drifting and ruining someone else fishing.

On this session it was a period of warm weather and i knew, like most of my sessions for carp, it was going to be a short session but i hoped a for a fish or two.  The warmer weather i knew would see the fish come up into the layers a lot quicker than previous sessions where the mornings had been quite cool.

Arriving i was glad to see the ducks had moved on and i fed quite a bit of bread under my feet, in the snags and off them as well.  The thinking here was to quickly get the carp up in top and confidently feeding and then pick out the ones taking the bread confidently.  What i got truly shocked me as the carp where straight up on top and in good numbers. In went a piece of crust sprayed with Bubble Cream Stinky Stuff and I quickly picked up a nice double to kick off the session.

As i have said regular on these carp sessions it was all about fun for me on these sessions now hence the floating crust.  I also on this session decided to use my 1.75lb test curve barbel rod and as i said on the video the carp where taking off the top and it was not long till the carbon was bent again.

The second carp again falling to the bread sprayed with stinky stuff was another double at just under 14lb.

After this double a six other carp in single figures slipped up on the floating crust and it was clear the carp where up for it as all the carp where slurping down the crust.  The best of the carp a lovely marked fish below.

These carp i have never come across before in the sessions but i was grateful to have found them and what lovely markings.  You can imagine my excitement when i slid the net under my third double and 9th carp of the morning when it had similar markings, a lovely 11lb common.

Casting the bread right over the far side i got a take from a fish and it did not fight at all, it came in like a wet lettuce if i am honest.  It was a carp and a double figure one at that and it looked to have a lovely dark colour.  The fish on the bank was very calm and if i am honest weird for carp.  All the other carp had been a real battle on the mat but this one just lied there.  I gave the fish a quick look over but could see no obvious reason for it.

A quick pic and back she went.

This double was followed by three more smaller carp and it looked like the doubles had spooked off the area altogether.  I have noticed once the sun gets to a certain point in the sky the carp turn off.  I knew my time on the lake was almost coming to an end.  One more cast i thought and i knew to get a take it would be down to getting a carp that was sitting just under some overhanging trees to come out.

A peach of a cast, well a lucky cast, saw the bread land just on the edges of the leaves.  It was one of those takes where you don't see the bread get taken as all you see is line stripping along the surface of the water a quick lift of the rod and i was connected to another good carp that decided she wanted to go back to her home under the trees.

The rod was bent right over and with my hand on the reel giving no inch i managed to stop the initial run.  As soon as you stop that initial run the carp do seem to slowly move out into the lake and this is when you can really just enjoy the battle.  Taking line and making long surges with the reel ticking over it was a good fight and i was mad up to slip the net under the biggest carp of the session in a 15lb 10oz common.

All in all a great mornings fishing with 5 doubles on the bank and like the previous sessions i left to the sound of people arriving in their cars and the sight of carp all over the top basking.

Bream On The Stick...

It feels great again to be scouring Google Earth looking for new virgin waters to fish.  We have dedicated so much time to one area of river that we hit the same areas time and time again trying to work the river out, most of the time in the same swims just different conditions.  So this week it felt good to be zoomed in on the river and following her every twist and turn to find the deeper runs and then of course the dreaded task of finding a place "close" to park the fish mobile.

A bit of likely looking river found it was a case of parking the car and making the walk to the river.  Down the first field and into the second we where greeted with livestock, never my favourite sight i can tell you, but these where horses, a new animal to share a field with for me, they seemed ok.

In hindsight my green ground bait bucket did me no favours at all and i guess the smell of sweet ground bait that lingered around it also added to the attention i was getting.  Across the fields and along the river they followed till eventually we left our "friends" behind.  The river looked deep and had a gentle pace across its width with trees lining the far bank it screamed fish.  A nice gap between us both we set up full of expectation and this was heightened when a big carp jump clear of the water just down stream, i had no chance of landing such a prize but proved this area held fish.

Early trots down i clipped the bottom a few times and i guessed this was down to streamer weed on the bottom, this would be a problem all day.  Knowing we had caught bream on other bits of this river i decided to mix up a good amount of ground bait.  The first few trots down and eventually i started catching the odd small roach.

Once the line i was going to fish was established i made my move and in went 3 big balls of ground bait laced with maggot and hemp seed.  This is entirely new to me in i never normally feed ground bait on the river but it is a branch of the sport i am trying to learn.  The feeding of the bait is easy its getting the "mix" right and also how much to feed i need to master and i have to be honest when i fed the three balls i knew nothing as to if it would kill of make the swim.

The swim continued to produce the roach and the odd chublet till it died completely and i mean it was like a light switch going off.  I trotted through the swim time and time again for around 15-20 minutes and then all of a sudden the float buried and my 14ft drennan acolyte hooped round.  It felt a huge fish in the flow and it just held there for a moment before moving over to the far tree line.  Turned it then came into the middle again and then up came a huge bream.

I don't quite know how to put in words the fight of a bream i guess if you have ever caught one you will know where i am coming from.  They kind of twist and turn in the flow in a horrible erratic way and i did struggle to get the fish upstream but eventually she came up and into the net,  buzzing the ground bait had certainly worked its magic.

The fish in the net i was straight back in and you can imagine what was going through my head when on the very next cast the float buried again and i was playing another nice bream.

Two bream in two casts and i was at a cross roads with the swim, do i feed more ground bait or do i fish it out? I decided with two of the bream there that size that there surely could be more so in went another two balls of ground bait.  If i was going to learn it was going to have to be a case of suck it and see.  If i hadn't of fed again and not caught then i would have walked away thinking what if i had fed again, did they clear me out and move on?

The second trot down after feeding the ground bait i again hit another bream and my excitement levels hit the roof and i am not going to lie here thought of a huge net of bream where flying through my head.  I think rightly so as well with 3 proper bream in 3 casts who could blame me?

The third bream in the net i settled back in and weirdly i started picking up roach again and some nice chublets

Around 9am i felt this burning on the back of my neck as the sun came up over the trees and slowly it rose till it was completely on the water.  This was the kiss of death as both mine and my uncles swims completely died.  The beauty of two of you fishing is you know if its a predator or not as if your mate is catching nicely and you are not then you know something is not right but as soon as that sun hit the water it killed both swims dead.

We called it a day around 11am after two hours with no bites but we both left having fished a new area of river.  We both took away how important ground bait was going to be on the river and again how much this river will be impacted by hot clear days.

I felt i learnt a lot in feeding the ground bait and getting the mix right.  On top of that i think i learnt that i need to get the bream out of the swim as soon as possible as i think on that last bream it certainly flapped about alot right in the swim which could have spooked the shoal prematurely.

All in all a nice quiet day on the bank and good to get amongst the fish.

Till next time

tight lines


Thursday, 4 August 2016

First Barbel Trip, Canal Roach and The Hiden Jewel of the Lake!!

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  The weather has finally turned and we have gone from flooded banks with minimal options to a take your pick type situation with all rivers in fine fettle.   Again we are still in a back log situation with the blog, not helped by me getting out three times this weekend.  Last weeks blog format was well received with it being all about the fishing and with very little to talk about in the angling world for an introduction i reckon the same approach is worth another go.

This weeks blog update see's me hitting the bank for my first ever session just aimed at catching barbel,  we then jump into a pole session on the canal in a swim with plenty of features and we finish it off with a bumper session for carp where believe it or not i catch my 50th carp of the season (still shake my head as i type that as i can not believe i have actually caught some carp on this blog lol) in a session where it certainly was quality rather than quantity.

Sit back, grab a brew and a chocky biscuit, its what i do when i read blogs and lets get right into this update...

First Barbel Session.....

At the start of the week i had decided  to get my act together with the barbel fishing and as with all aspects of fishing preparation is the key.  I knew evenings would be the best time for a bite but i also knew that such a session was never going to happen after work as it stood right now as i had no hemp seed prepared and no meat hook baits prepared either.

There was always the option to go to the tackle shop and just buy loads of tins of hemp seed and pre prepared luncheon meat but come on have you seen the price of these products?? Yes they are convenient and i wont argue in the fact the missus wont kill you for using her best pan to cook your hemp or for turning the house air green with the smell of boiling hemp, but, when you do the sums you realise just how much money money is added to the price of the raw product of hemp seed when you buy it in this form.  Maybe I'm just tight but doing the sums a 20kg bag saves you at least the price of a new fishing rod and on the odd occasion i have bought a tin of hemp i found these tins don't even contain a pint of hemp!  Well in a blog with no introduction we snook a rant in somewhere ha-ha.

So with the hemp cooked in 2 pint bags and the luncheon meat happily marinating in my spicy mix it was a simple case of getting the bait out of the freezer before work so i could hit the bank right away that evening.  A quick check on the EA levels at 4pm showed the river dropping and about foot max above summer levels, this was at 2pm on my break.  I rushed home at 4pm grabbed the gear and then fought my way through rush hour traffic finally arriving on the river banks at around 5.15pm.

Opening the farmers gate i could see the river, odd i thought as you can not normally see her till a little more along the field.  Getting closer i could see she was well up and very very coloured.  I walked the banks to find most of the swims unfishable due to the bottom of the peg being submerged.  The only bit of the stretch that was fishable was the peg i fished the opening week on the stick float where the risen bank i was stood on had created a slack on the inside.  Down the middle it was bombing through with all types of stuff coming down.

I fed the inside heavy with hemp seed trying my best to judge the flow so the hemp was staying in the swim and nog getting washed away.  I set my stall and in went a big pieces of smelly meat.  Sat back well up the bank i was fishing my first ever barbel session on a rising river and although the text books say this is the best conditions, for me, it was a baptism of fire and i was using all my watercraft to try and read a river rising fast, i felt i was in the right spot.  If i was going to get one it would be here.

Bot long after casting in i began to get a few taps on the rod tip, then a few more and the excitement levers rose, i was at least in a spot where fish where holding.  The taps continued until the tip tap round and remained round, i stuck and there was a fish on!! in the flow it felt ok but soon up came a slimy slippery eel!  Not the species i was after but the blank was saved and i felt i was in the right area.

The next few hours i really questioned my sanity as zero taps on the rod and the sight of whole trees coming down the river really did have me thinking of packing in and calling it a wasted trip. A stick in the water was my marker and the river had fully submerged this as was the rise.  9pm and the flow on the river seemed to change and settle and the streams of rubbish had stopped coming down.  Being a stick float angler i rarely see the river in this state so i imagine this was when the river hit its peak and leveled off.

Thew light levels began to go and calm was all around me, it felt right it felt bite time and as soon as i thought that the tip wolloped round, a bite like nothing else i had ever seen,  grabbing the rod i was bent into a fish that felt massive in the flow yet it went from one side to the next effortlessly before coming into the middle of the river and again making hard runs, i felt sure it was a barbel.  It certainly was not a chub,too strong.  Holding in the flow and the fight i felt getting into the middle stages the line come flying back at me as the hook pulled!!    Writing this now the feeling i felt then comes flooding back, i was gutted, i sat there and in short was amazed how the fish had gone on such hard runs but when seemingly under control in the middle of the river the hook pulled.  Fished on into dark but nothing came but the extra time saw me reflecting on the situation.

"my first ever barbel trip on a new river in flooded conditions and i had read the river, fed a swim and got a bite from a barbel.  Yes i was gutted but there where more positives than negatives to take form this session."

Early Morning Canal Session - Bridgewater Canal

A stifling day midweek in work and i decided to escape the beige brick wall i face in work and escape for an opportunistic hour lunch break.  A short drive and i was soon heading down a narrow road leading to a humpback bridge.  A tight turn and i was literally along side the canal looking at a swim that was to die for reeds lined the far bank and all along the length there was sunken trees and surface lillys.  It screamed fish but alas my destiny that day lay back at my desk dreaming of the swim i had just been eating my sandwiches in.

Saturday morning arrived and in the dark i loaded the car and made my way to the swim.  I loaded in my MAP TKS 101 2G pole with two top kits and bait for the day would be ground bait and red maggot.  As regular readers will know i follow a set routine with my canal sessions and the first thing to be done was mixing up the ground bait, this is my opinion, when prepared in the right way, is the key to success on the canal.

I fed the far line just off the cover heavy with two big balls of ground bait loaded with hemp and castor and introduced one ball on my near side line just over the inside shelf.  The inside line was good from the off with skimmers and small roach and perch coming regularly.  Whilst catching these fish i kept the odd pouch of maggots going over the far bank line.

This really is a game of patience on the canal and judgement as the longer you leave that far bank line before fishing it the better the fishing will be but you don't want to leave it too long that the boat traffic starts not long after feeding it.  I think the beauty of this far bank line is the face its settled with no disturbance and there is a bed of bait on the bottom for them to settle over.

With canal sessions i think you get the best results early morning so i get out of the mindset that i will be fishing all day, all my canal sessions are form first light till around 10 to 11am max, earlier if boat traffic is really really heavy.  Early on the inside line fished well but as bank side disturbance grew i knew the fish had backed off and it was time to go over to the far bank.

The far bank line was instantly a bite a chuck and it was not a surprise with it being so close to the cover.  Bites would come on the drop mainly but a better fish was always the result should the bait settle on the bottom, a caster session on this canal is well over due.

Keeping the bait going in saw fish coming regular to the net and at times some quality roach would nip in and these are of course the jewel in the crown for any canal angler.  The session was the relaxing session i had craved in the week, a polar opposite form the beige wall i stared at all week long in work.  A 12lb net was the end outcome of lovely silver fish.

As with all fishing we should leave the banks how we find them, foot prints, spilt bait and the depression from my basket the only sign the bank had been visited.

Doubles Doubles and the Hidden Jewel Of the Lake....

There was no escaping at this point that early morning quick sessions for carp where flowing through my veins.  The sessions where both fun and whats even better, cheap, some sessions costing as little as 35p for a loaf of bread.  The tackle costs where just as minimal with one packet of hooks still going strong with a few left from a pack of ten.

To this point i had been taking two rods with me with one on the bait alarm on the bottom and one on the top with bread, never fishing both at the same time, but alternating between the two.  As the sessions went on it soon became noticeable that fishing a bait on the bottom was just too easy.  I don't say that in a cocky way but once i had found a clear spot, near cover, i found the fish would come and come and come and it was getting a little silly.  I had broke my personal best and i felt that i could possibly break this again with one big fish spotted but i was at the stage where i didn't want to plough through runs to catch one fish i wanted to go for a few hours and have some fun.

That said i started just going with one rod, a net, a bucket with my loaf of bread and unhooking mat in and my licence of course.  Free lining bread on the surface was what i wanted to do and it was such fun.  On this session the morning was very dark and there was plenty of cloud cover as i arrived and i doubted whether i would get the carp up on top at all.  Had i bitten off more than i could chew in taking up this fun challenge.

A few free offerings put in the margins and some in open water i waited with bread in hand ready to make my first cast.  Time would tell if the fish would come up on top.  After what seemed an age....Slurp! and then another Slurp, it was like music to my ears.  The fish was taking right close top a big snag but it was taking the bread down well so i knew if it saw my offering i would have him.  Sure enough up he came and with such a gentle take the bread disappeared, line tightened and i was into my first carp, a nice small common to open my account.

This fish was fish 48 of the season for me and i was hoping for the morning to bring me over the 50 mark.  The carp released i could see a carp taking some bread right on the edges of my baited area.  Using braid certainly caught me this fish as this fish came and looked at the bread and moved on but being able to quickly lift and mend the line as it turned I'm sure the better presentation fooled it as it had a second look.

A 10lb 9oz Carp was the reward and what a reward a stunning double figure ghosite.

I had been drip feeding some bread under my feet for a while and the natural tow of the lake was taking the bread over to the far bank just off a overhanging tree.  To this day i don't know how on earth a damp free lined piece of bread one, managed to stay on the hook after the cast and two managed to land inches off the over hanging tree on the far side.

Land it did with an ever so inviting plop and no sooner had it landed than a huge set of rubber lips rolled on the bread and nailed it.  No strike was need as the rod was nearly pulled out of my hand in a run of pure power!  The line cut across the surface as the fish bolted for open water and keeping deep i was luck it did.  Had it headed for the big snag i would have been in all kinds of trouble.

The rod hooped over it was a fantastic fight that i enjoyed, i don't think i would have been so relaxed had it been my PB a few weeks earlier, now i had a few doubles under my belt i was enjoying the battles more and there where little nerves.  Sliding the net under the fish i peered in and she was a nice common carp.  On the mat peeling back the mesh revealed a stunning fish and i mean stunning she was fin perfect.  Her mouth was clean and her scales immaculate, lifting her dorsal fin revealed, well i will let the pictures below do the talking.

14lb 8oz of pristine common carp, what a fish to bring up the 50!

The fish admired and returned safely back to the water i had a quick coffee break and while i did i fed under my feet again.  All this bread going in i had acquired myself a little pet carp under my feet, i don't think she knew i knew she was there, but i did.  She was there taking the odd piece of bread thinking she was getting one over on me and i hadn't seen her, unfortunately i had.  It was time to cash her in.

Coffee drank i stopped feeding bread for a few minutes  allowing her to mop up the bits as they went passed.  The next one down was the one with my hook in and good as gold she came out of the bank side reed cover and took the bait.  Now bear in mind i had seen this fish quite a bit taking bread but what i had not realised was she was quite a bit carp.  In fact she was one of the better specimens in the lake and she made me know it with a bruising encounter all under the rod tip.

Sliding her into the net i felt like my arm was going to fall off, another common and my third double of the morning at 16lb 10oz.

Two smaller carp got in on the act after this fish and i had noticed when these whipper snappers move in its a sure sign the better fish have moved out.  A quick change of swim i dropped back into a swim close to the car and just before leaving a managed a final double of the morning in a 10lb 6oz mirror carp.

I left around 9am having caught a few fish and certainly had my string pulled.  Home in time for the family to be waking up and ready for a day ahead spent relaxing with the family.  My mind occasionally drifting back to the lake that morning and that magical 14lb pristine carp, the hidden jewel of the lake.

Till next time

tight lines