Monday, 22 January 2018

Pike Fishing With Deadbaits....Dreadfull start Comes Good

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you well and your nets wet.  We are coming to the end of January 2018 and this will be the third written blog of the year as well as producing a Youtube blog video each Friday as well so so far so good on the blogging front and i must admit i am thoroughly enjoying getting back into the written one again and thank you too all who have emailed me saying how pleased you are its returned!

so straight into it...

1k Subscribers  on Youtube Channel

Great start to 2018 with the Blogs Youtube Channel hitting 1,000 Subscribers, a huge milestone for the blog, one i hope will continue to build by following the principles of the written one.  Good, honest and open accounts of an everyday angler documenting his fishing trips its the way i wrote the blog 7 years ago and it is the way it will continue.

My other half bought me a cracking gift for Christmas in a set of 3 Mark Houghton Pike deadbait pencil floats which look amazing.  As the youtube channel hit the 1k subscriber mark i decided to do a bit of a give away and that is now live on the channel in the video below.

So dead simple be subscribed to the channel, like the video and comment what colour floats you would like to receive if you win. As in the video not a sponsored give away i will be buying the prize myself and i was well impressed with the gift for Christmas and thought would make a nice prize for the winner.

New Year New Card...

So this year i am a member of Lymm Angling Club and looking at the waters they do have a huge variety to go at.  I have got some plans to do some more carp fishing this year like i did with the reservoir diaries last but i am hoping to again target this water.  With the Lymm card i am thinking of using it to target a new species and one i have never really had a serious go for in the past, the Barbel.

The club seems to have waters large and small to target these fish on and with a lot of the waters seemingly being highly pressured carp waters i think the banks of the river is where i will find my type of fishing on this card.  So yeah a little thing on the back burner at the moment but already thoughts of Summer and Autumn are in the mind.
On to The Fishing ....

Pike Fishing - Dread Full Start Comes Good!

A afternoon battling Chub on the River the day before and holding a 17ft rod as high as possible saw me meeting no sorry hitting the 6am Sunday Alarm Clock with the half asleep slap it deserved, a couple of snoozes rightfully applied i eventually rose from my slumber around 6.30am.

I am normally very well prepared when it comes to my fishing and have everything ready the night before so i can get up the next day and go about my morning routine knowing all i have to do is load the car and be gone, this morning was far from my normal pre fishing routine.

Stick float rods left in the holdall needed replacing with the pike rods of which one would need setting up on a ledger from scratch on the bank whilst my pike terminal tackle remained spread on the downstairs table, left from last nights attempt to tie some traces.  Its not often i am not in the mood for going fishing but this morning i could quite easily have stayed in my pit.  My drive to go came from the fact i knew there was a window of opportunity on the river where the weather and levels where right and with rain forecast during the week and possible over time the following weekend in work i knew i would regret not going.

A strong coffee consumed i loaded the car and began the trundle to the river, out of my close and onto the main motorway my mind began to wander onto the session ahead.  Where would i place my baits and what bait would i fish where the main thoughts and then, like most anglers, thoughts turn to the dreaded question "Have i forgot Anything?"  It then hit me i had left my wire trace bin on the kitchen table, no pulling over to check i knew i had and without it i would be in a bit of a pickle having to make up traces.  Half way to the venue a U-Turn back to the ranch and upon my return there it was proud as punch on the table a quick grab and back on the way, staying in bed was looking like a good option.

Back into the car and retracing my steps.  I don't know about anyone else but i always feel like i have missed out on a huge part of the day if i am not on the bank on day break, its such a short period of time compared to the whole day but it can reveal so much, especially when it comes to pike.  Making my way back i could see the faint glow of light blue on the horizon that told me day break was not far away bit i was making good time.

My head lamps still required to negotiate the dark roads i might just make it in time for day break.  Pulling into the car park the birds where in full song and before me lay a river, its surface like a mirror reflecting the bare boned trees on the far bank and along the inside line, for only the shortest of distances the water danced with small fry topping in the dropping moons light.

There i stood just watching and staring at the venue taking in its mood and desperately trying to get into tune with the daily activities of the fish below its watery surface.  You soon get that feeling inside of where you need to set up and one peg in particular was calling to me as it just seemed alive with silvers, a pike just had to be stalking that shoal.  The frustrations inside from the mornings mishaps began to ebb away and in it's place came that warm glow of fishing excitement, time to grab the rods.

stock image

I knew i had one rod to set up from scratch so i quickly threw a few frozen dead baits into the net in the edge to thaw while I got the one rod that was all set to go ready to make a cast.  I figured as long as i had one rod in i was fishing at least.  The banks sticks with their lolly pop alarms on top slid easily into the saturated sodden slippery banks as did their back rests and in the early morning light a dead bait loaded with Sardine oil was cast out.  The fox swinger keeping the line tight to the lead the trap was tightly set and ready for a hungry pike to spring it open. 

Setting up the second rod i realised I had only had one more wire trace left in the rig bin, a trace i had made a while ago when an accidental purchase of some Barbless Fox trebles had taken place, total and utter nightmare as baits fly off the hooks all the time even with the bait flats.  Even so needs must so out went the rod with the trebles on and i prayed they held the bait on while i made a new trace up.

The new Fox 49 Strand Anti Kink braid really is good stuff, pricey but good, one thing it does need is a lot more effort top make traces than the old carbo flex and why they stopped making it i will never know.  Each cut of the wire you make requires you to burn the ends to stop it from fraying so a task that a year or two ago would take 5 minutes required the stove to be set up.

With the trace eventually made up i wound the second rod in and as i thought the last hook on the bottom treble was the only hook attached to the bait as the top set of trebles had come lose, Semi Barbed all the way guys.  The trace replaced it went back out into the same spot and i grabbed the kettle to make a much needed brew.  I don't actually think i made it back to my basket to grab the lighter to light the stove before i was stopped in my steps by one beep on the rod i had just replaced. 

Like a statue my body remained still only my head turned back towards the rods direction.  Another soft pull on the line brought another one beep on the old delkims, a third more violent tug and the line parted from the fox bite arm and that ever so satisfying clunk as the metal of the back alarm made contact with the bank stick as it completed its fall.  A slip and a slide down the bank i grabbed the rod and set the camera to record, line was now peeling from the spool as the pike went on a confident run, a solid take.

I gave it a count down strike and set the hooks and felt that satisfying solid resistance of a strong winter pike with line pulling from the reel it was like the woes of a frustrating morning where peeling off with it.  A solid fight that saw the pike go a bit mental under the rod tip as it made one final run along the bank and under my other rod but thankfully i eventually slid the net under a lovely marked and well fed pike.  On the Scales she went 9lb and had been feeding very well, a good sign for the rest of the session.

The pike went a bit mental in the net to sat the least so i decided to put her in the edge to rest, upon doing so my morning went from ecstasy to complete and utter tosh as i slid on my backside top to bottom of the bank.  Picking myself up i was caked all down my side and on such a cold day i was thank full of my thick thermal under layers i can tell you.  A brush down and the pike released i set about casting the same rod back out and poured myself a much needed brew!

Sitting back on my Shakespeare green box i decided it best not to move a muscle, just stay put on the chair and you will be safe i thought that way nothing else can go wrong.  Carefully sipping a warming cup of tea i took a moment to breathe and relax!  It had been all go that morning on the bank what with the manic start, a pike and then going over on the bank so sitting back the rods out either side of the swim i  watched the world around me go about their Sunday morning routines, joggers and bikers all enjoying the outside crisp morning weather whilst above them a pair of Buzzards circled the open fields looking for a free meal and in a complete contrast to all these subtle activities a flash of blue and orange zoomed past the swim as a kingfisher made its way to its favourite perch.

Sat on my own perch it was a good two brews later i recorded a piece for the youtube blogs on how a running ledger set up works as i had received a few questions on it recently.  No sooner had i finished talking the other rod buzzed into life and there was no messing with this one the line pulled straight form the slip and, almost carp run like, line spooled from the rods tip. 

No messing about with this one i wound down and set the hooks and immediately i knew i was into a better fish as the rod hooped over as the fish pulled hard in the deep water.  Nervous, hook hold releasing, head shakes sent shivers up the line through the rod and through my whole body as a very tentative fight was played out.  One of those fights where you feel at any moment you could lose the fish.  A hard fight under the rod tip she came up and turned leaving a huge boil in her wake, i had seen the prize and knew i was attached to a double figure pike.  Up she came again and this time there was no messing and into the deep net she went,  first thoughts?? BARREL!!

She was a short fish and in normal conditions she would weigh about 1olb for her length i would say but in her winter condition she was fit to burst, broad across the shoulder and had been eating very well.  Certainly a big fish in years to come she had the right mentality already, EAT EAT and EAT some more.  On the scales she went just under 14lb and was one of the most beautiful fish i have ever caught with vibrant oranges tipped with deep red in her fins a dark green back with dots of yellow along her side perfectly placed, a real beautiful fish.

A fish like this called for more than a celebratory brew so i cracked open some cuppa soups my other half had picked up for me the previous day.  Warm and satisfying i sat on my box with the mud  on my clothes now caked dry i had not a care in the world.  That pike had made my day and made all the effort worth while to push on through all the trials and tribulations of the session.  I gave the session till 1pm before calling it a bay and i made the long journey back home with a irremovable smile on my face.

A session to show that its not always sun and roses  on the bank but not giving in and pushing on through it can all come good in the end.

Till next time i wish you all

Tight Lines


Monday, 15 January 2018

Winter Chub Fishing on the Stick Float

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you well and your nets wet.  After a drab Christmas period fishing wise the arrival of Double overtime at work to start 2018 did nothing to help me find time to hit the bank to rekindle my fishing spark.  Fishing can be many things from addiction to part of a routine and for some like myself it is almost a necessity, a place where the hectic and sometimes frantic 9-5 week can be washed away.  I needed to get out on the bank and have a good session, venue would be key in this, as it always is in winter, but with all the waterways finally fining down i knew of one such spot that might just see me scratching that itch.

Winter Chub Fishing on The Stick Float...

Nothing quite scratches a fishing itch quite like the rod bending round into a chub and it was this species i hoped to find on the session.  A few jobs to complete on Saturday morning i quickly set about completing these tasks and finally packed the car around 11am.

A cold over cast day with plenty of grey cloud cover greeted me as i loaded up the fish mobile who's skirts still sported the brown splatters of mud from the weekly commute the day before.  The car loaded with the bare essentials a warm glow of excitement inside polarised the cold air nipping at my nose, i felt confident of a bite.

Meandering along the B-Roads to the river the car bounced as it emptied the winter pot holes of their overnight rainfall, a salute to the buzzard on street lamp number 3 as i passed his usual station.  He looked as fed up of the weather as all us anglers of late but funny how this same bird sites on the same post every week.  The fields adjacent to the roads bare of their autumn crops that lay wrapped up tightly in bales next to the farmers barns and the whole landscape just had the mid winter feel to it.  A complete contrast to the greens and bright yellows of summer but none the less beautiful, fishing in all seasons is such a pleasure.

The river i was heading too was one we had not graced in a while but it still felt like i was heading to an old friend and the car, on auto pilot, knew the path to take.  Arriving at the venue and opening the car door for the first time you could feel that cold wet breeze hit your face, not an unpleasant winter breeze but the cool refreshing clean air breeze that only comes when beside running water.

The river looked in fine fettle her margins clear but more akin to weak tea than Gin,  the pace just faster than walking and not a breath of wind around it was a perfect day to be fishing a stick float.  The calm nature of the river now certainly had not been the case weeks earlier as the rivers raging dark side during the floods had deposited a whole tree upstream that pushed the flow more into the middle of the river than before but did mean the flow now pushed into and alongside a far bank overhanging tree.

The overhanging tree looked similar to our Christmas tree that we let our 3 year old lad and 5 year old daughter decorate, a mess! Its overhanging branches festooned with twigs and branches held in place against the tree by the constant flow it created a nice raft that just said one thing, Mr chubs home.

Tackling the swim would not be easy as the flow down the middle had created some slack water on the inside and keeping the line out of this would be crucial to presenting the float as naturally as possible.  I had my 14ft Drennan Acolyte in the holdall and i was aching to get some proper chub on it but i knew time was of the essence and every trot down had to count.  It was a day where the functionality of my 17ft Preston Innovations Carbon active float rod would rule of the style of the acolyte.  Its extra length would keep as much line as possible out of that slack.

My reel loaded with 4lb4oz Drennan Float fish on which sat a 6 number 4 dome top stick float and all this went down to a 1lb7oz Bayer Perlon hooklength and a size 18 micro barbed hook.  As i have said before on the chub blogs you don't need big hooks or heavy lines to catch chub and when the video of this session goes live hopefully it will show just how much pressure this set up can take, balanced tackle and a correctly set drag are key.

Long term blog followers will know i have used Cheshire Particle products throughout last year and such is the quality of the hemp seed that will continue through 2018's adventures.  As always with my blogging i wont be sat there head to toe in all the gear i will simply mention when i use the product and what i catch while using and if you like what you see head over to Cheshire Particle and try it out. You will not be disappointed, Marks puts a huge amount of time and effort in creating his particles and it shows in the final product and the fish it has help catch.

I knew the chub would be sat under the raft and ideally i did not want to have to go hunting them underneath the raft.  My plan was to feed the swim heavily with maggot and hemp and create a baited area of hemp just up and to the side of the snag to lure them out and feed heavily with maggot to have a steady stream of maggots going past their door.

Chub by nature are as crafty and cautious as them come, almost like the carp of the river, but once you break that cautious barrier they can be quite easy to fool and catch and their main down fall is their greed.  While setting up the gear i fed the swim heavily with 3 good pouches of hemp and the same of white maggot and at periods while setting up continued to feed well with the maggots.

By the time i come to make the first cast the swim had been primed for a good 20 to 30 minutes and as such it only took around 5 or 6 casts before the float buried and the rod arched round solid as a bold brassy chevin held station in the fast flow.  As defiant as they come the drag on the reel gave line slowly as it ticked over as a battle of wills was played out.  The key is remaining calm and making sure you do not lose the fish right in the zone you are fishing.  Eventually the chub kicked into the slack and i knew, as long as the slack had no snags, it was a case of playing it out under my control and a few seconds later the first chub was in my palms.

Chub fishing is the ultimate game of chess and this chub a pawn in the early exchanges and one that gave me great confidence as i knew where there was one there was like a shoal.  The key is not to be in too much of a hurry to cast back in.  The shoal will have spooked and needed luring back into participating in the game again so rather than casting back in i fed the swim heavily for a good 5 minutes with hemp and maggot.  The mindset early on is to pick off as many as you can preying on the sheer greed of the chub to feed.

The time for another cast came and after a few trots through the float again bolted under and a smaller chublet bundled its way through the flow.  It lacked the brutality of its earlier brother but still had the cunning to bolt for a tree stump under my feet.  This small chublet was followed by a small grayling that of course went straight back after its capture.

A close up of the small chub showing how small a hook you can use for chub.

Reading the swim is key but so is reading the captures and i knew the arrival of a grayling meant the shoal was still not in residence, simply put the chub would easily out bully this fish.  Keeping the flow of maggots going through the swim and the odd pouch of hemp seed patience was key.  Getting into a rhythm and inching the bait through the swim it took a good half an hour before the next fish and instantly i knew it was a better one as it swam up against the flow till level with my peg.

Solid on the bottom it lazily kicked its tail and moved over in the flow the rod bending in tandem with the fight and the clicks from the reels drag increased in frequency as the chub glided across the flow.  I knew this was the best fish so far and this was confirmed when a big set of white rubber lips broke surface the only issue was it did so mid flow.  Inching the chub closer in slowly it came into netting range and a proper chunk of a chub was mine.

After this fish a change of tactic was used, i went from feeding a huge amount of maggot to just 3 or 4 every trot through.  I knew the shoal was there and all the chub had mouth fulls of feed so i knew the fish where hungry and on the bait the reduction in amount of feed had them fish now competing for just a few maggots.

Under the water the chub where sitting picking off the maggots and hemp at will now they would be searching out the maggots as they competed and this tactic worked a treat as a few more chublets came in quick succession as this game of chess was played over the next few hours.

3pm came round as quickly as the float was burying with a chub bite and before i knew it we where moving into the last hour of the session.  The famous witching hour where i expected the chub to really come on.  In that last hour they did just that as bites came on successive casts that culminated in a proper barrel of a chub showing up.

The final net went just under 16lb of fin perfect chub and capped of a very enjoyable few hours on the bank.  The 17ft rod was really put through its paces and come through it still in only 3 pieces.  joking aside hopefully this session and the video on the blogs youtube channel shortly shows how robust this set up can be.

Till next time i wish you all tight lines, please check out the blogs youtube page on the link below, over a years worth of weekly videos on there.



Tuesday, 9 January 2018

2018 A New Start...Winter Pond Fishing For Silvers...

A warm welcome to this weeks angling blog i hope i find you all well and your nets wet, wow its been too long since i wrote that line! Just over a year ago i made the huge step of beginning to document my adventures in video format on Youtube and when i did i never imagined that one i would enjoy creating the content this way so much and two that this page would continue to be so popular given the lack on content.

Over the past year i have had loads of emails asking if the written blog would be making a come back as they enjoyed the weekly blog. All through last year i tried and tired to put blogs together but lack of time to do so and also a lack of inspiration, the words just would not come if you get me.  Over the new year a spark lit with me and this sudden urge to get back blogging kicked in, so here we are the first full week of the new year with a blank canvass so lets get this show back on the road.

Changes -

These really come down to yourselves the readers and you getting your thoughts out there on social media and in the comments section below as to what you like and what you dont like about the blog.  In the past it has had many identities and themes from me answering questions i receive in to me posting my thoughts on things i see in angling, rants and all, before getting into the main part of the blog the fishing.

As a content creator if none are forthcoming then i  am thinking of the blog being more like a written diary, just the fishing sessions in written form trying to capture the sessions that i fish, the sights and the scene and the session as a whole.  Either way i want it to be something that you yourselves want to read so let me know please.

So lets get straight into it:-

Winter Pond Silvers on The Waggler...

Friday morning and with the incessant rain still tapping irritatingly at the window of the living room i sat, feet up, watching yet another repeat of Home Alone on the box.  A great film no doubt but after a long Christmas period rocking around the Christmas Tree has just lost its appeal and truth be told the sound of rain incessantly falling had me feeling more like banging my head against the Tree than dancing round it.

Cabin fever well and truly set in i just had to get out and wet a line the next day so plans with my uncle where made and we made one promise, we would find somewhere to wet a line.

Saturday morning and a clear crisp morning met me as a loaded up the car for another adventure.  The rain had meant silver fishing really had taken a back seat of late as the ease and versatility of conditions you can pike fish in had seen me targetting these camouflaged predators more often than not, it meant me delving right to the back of the fishing room for my box and drennan acolyte rod.

Our journey to the river my heart sank as we passed all the local ditches and run offs that where grey and carrying plenty of road run off.  I knew then the river we where travelling too would also be "on the edge".  You can look at the charts on the rivers all you want but the simple equation is, if the side streams and upper reaches are a mess then the main river is also going to be similar.

Arriving at the river as day light broke we could see straight away the over night rain had really come into the system in a big way, no way would we be float fishing today.   A quick chat and a video of said waterway done for the blog we decided to drop back on a small pond.  When picking winter venues to fish its never easy but one thing i would say is always looks for one with some depth and as small as possible.  Simple physics then mean fishing the deepest but you are not too far away from any fish.

The pond surrounded by by old trees their forks bare from their summer foliage and the pond now also free from the chocking summer weed had a black tinge to its crystal clear depths.  A tough day was in order for sure with such clear conditions but i set my sights on 10 to 20 fish.  A solitary fishing topping right in the middle of the pool sparked some excitement as it meant the fish where at least on the move.

Tackle for the session was my 14ft Drennan Acolyte coupled with a shimano Techium reel loaded with 4lb drennan float fish line.  A simple waggler was attached via a float rubber to the line and this all lead down to a 1.7lb Bayer Perlon hooklength and a size 18 micro barbed hook.   The shotting pattern was strung out number 8 shots.

My bait choice was simple in the form of around a pint and half of white maggots that i planned to drip feed the swim with.   The swim in front of me was like any pond, shallow margins dropping into a deep bowl, i plumbed up at rod tip just where the bowl levelled out and spent a good amount of time making sure the float was shotted down as much as i could to register even the faintest of bites.

The first cast and the float settled nicely with just the bristle breaking the glass surface of the pond.  More fish began to top around the pool but my float remained stagnant in its position.  I kept feeding the swim with two to three maggots and on every few feeds recast in the hope the fish where intercepting the feed on the drop.

Eventually the first bite came in the form of a small roach and despite the air being quite comfortable the roach stung my palms as it graced them such was the harsh coldness of the fish, bitter! I knew there and then bites would be at a premium and feeding had to be careful as these fish, although feeding, would not need much to be overfed. 

It took around half an hour for the first bite but then like the kingfisher that past me so came a flurry of bites as the first fish was followed by two more.  Many who will have watched the videos on youtube will see my thoughts on feeding and with a few bites like that it is easy to think they are having it but you have to be restrained and not go mad and over feed so i continued to drip feed the swim with 2-3 maggots at a time.

By midday a pattern had shown in the fish would move in, you would catch one or two and then would follow a period of quiet before their return, i was happy with this on the day as a good bit of banter was had with my uncle during the lean spells, i would say by midday i had around 10 plump roach like the one below in the net.

Into the afternoon and the swim completely died for a good hour and all signs of fish in the pool seemed to cease as an eerie silence came over the pool the birds seemed to have lost their voices and even dying reeds to my right ceased their whistle as the wind dropped.  A solemn calm in a world crammed with impatient people clambering to get their mundane tasks completed, a moment of utter peace and tranquillity in the middle of an urban landscape, a world few of these people who partake in this modern rat race stop to even acknowledge.

The calmness was broken when my float slid away and likes its action the whole swim descended, into chaos that is, as the drennan acolyte bent smoothly into a better fish.  The camera grabbed to capture this moment on film it was utter shock when up through the clear depths came the olive green flanks of a tench!!, The camera went down and all that mattered was sliding this fish into the waiting net.  A winter Tinka a real surprise given the cold conditions.

The tench was a real surprise on such a cold day and i guess goes to show that these species do not just sit there dormant all winter till spring comes, a nice addition to the days sport.  The disturbance of this fish did kill the swim for a bit but eventually a few roach moved back in but in reality it was not until the sun sank down onto the horizon and its oily watery winter gaze jeweled through the trees that a few better roach started to top and out of the blue right on last knocking a real beauty of a roach made an appearance,

The roach was a fitting end to a nice day on the bank with my uncle and hopefully the net below goes to show that you dont need 20lb nets of roach to have a good day on the bank, a few bites with a mate can lead to some of the best and most memorable days on the bank.  A special session on a special water, see you in spring.

Till next time

tight lines


You can watch a video of the session on the blogs youtube channel on this link below