Saturday, 28 March 2015

Last two trips - Seasons end

A bit late to the end of season party compared to some of you other bloggers, but better late than never, at least I think so.

The end of the season would soon be upon me, where does the time go?  Needless to say that the weather was on the turn and there was without doubt a hint of spring in the air and I an itch that needed scratching. I'll admit now that I can be a bit stubborn with trying new things sometimes and lure fishing has fallen under this category, but a few weeks prior I decided to spend a frugal amount on some Sports direct jigs, total cost £7 for 110 haribo coloured lures and apart from the hooks needing a little sharpening it didn't look such a bad purchase.

Fast forward to a rather sunny day and I quite fancied a foray for perch or pike. The compact exage rod was grabbed along with a selection of jigs and I was soon trying a few swims. Various speeds of retrieve were interspersed with twitching and lifting the rod tip up and back down slightly, although I have to say I think the hardest thing for me was getting use to the retrieve.

It was not until I tried one of the lower beats of this river that I had my first hit, slowly retrieving the jig along a deeper margin until it was more or less parallel with my feet, an eager jack pounced on it and headed off downstream.

1-0 to the fluro orange jig

Later in the day I decided to head back upstream and try my luck at a sumptuous looking slack that I had tried earlier, It looked too good not to produce. Two casts later and there was an explosive eruption from the sunken tree on the opposite bank as a pike came sprinting out from cover,  mouth agape and lunging into the jig with gusto. This was a better fish and sprinted downstream on a couple of energetic runs, the little rod more than ample to cope with it, resulting in a nicely marked esox just over 7lb.


By now I was slowly getting into a modicum of rhythm and beginners luck, well something was working at least and that little voice in my head was starting to chirp away, asking why I didn't lure fish more and this was one example where talking to yourself does not always give you the right answers as there was no way I could deny that I was enjoying this.

On the way upstream I passed by another angler who had set up for a spot of chub fishing, he was rather hopeful that he would get his line tugged. I decided to give a couple more spots a few casts before heading home, it was at this precise moment I realised that I had not changed jigs during this trip, although I had lost one on a bush on the opposite bank earlier on and this gave me good opportunity to try something different, however I still foraged about and replaced it with an identical jig, I felt that if it is not broken don't fix it.

The final spot produced a rattling bite, just as I slowed down the retrieve and could feel the lure clipping the riverbed lightly. A perch was the reward, not a monster, but a finely marked fish that was in perfect condition.

I don't normally do final thoughts regarding a style of fishing, but such was my enjoyment throughout this trip that it has left me wishing that I had done a lot more in the past. Granted this trip like one Swallow does not make a summer, but goodness it was an adrenaline rush to see the fish hit the lure and I certainly won't be denying myself this enjoyment in the future.

The final day of the season had me pondering where to head and if I should perhaps head out again with the lures, but try as I might I could not tear myself away from the urge to end the season doing some link legering for chub.

It was a nice morning but the wind was rather keen to gnaw at my rotund figure, though that was my own fault for not wearing more than a couple of layers. I had decided to take some liquidised bread mixed with a good helping of Parmesan cheese powder, this had been purchased at a reduced price a good few years ago (2008) and is perfect to add a spot of scent trail to the mix, along with this I had krill cheese paste, bread, worms and a pint of maggots for hook baits.

I decided that I would try quite a few swims on worm for instant bites and in the other swims opt to bait with the Parmesan bread mix, fishing these swims in rotation. The first area looked good for a fish or two and had numerous debris strewn features, ranging from sunken branches to an uprooted tree which had created a nice hole off of the main current.

It didn't disappoint and a rattling bite was soon forthcoming from a young, clean looking chevin.

I decided to have another cast, this time tighter to the opposite bank, the water running smoothly here or least that is what I thought, on the retrieve I found that I was snagged solidly and had to slowly pull for a break and if there is one thing I absolutely loathe it is losing ssg shot, especially given how costly it is and how few you get per tub, I sat muttering about this to myself as I set up another link.

Moving downstream I came to a spot where graveled shallows gave way to a deeper depression and I decided to take off one ssg to allow the bait to trundle through the swim more naturally. On the second cast as the worm bobbed underneath the opposite bank and into the deeper water I received a thumping bite.

This felt a better stamp of chevin as it stayed low using the current to its advantage and gave a good account of itself. A portly, brass coloured fish with a glossy sheen to it. The chevins were clearly on the feed, although in some swims it was a case of one bite at the apple and then move on.


I found myself tempted by a swim I have not tried before, although I do question why not considering the amount of features which included a nice slack. This was one of a handful of swims that I had baited with liquidised bread and this can be a bit of a gamble, as sometimes it does spook fish that you might have taken by just dropping into a swim and fishing opportunistically with a single bait. Thirty minutes later and I was wondering if this was the case as worm and cheese paste remained untouched.

The current on the opposite bank was fast moving, not particularly deep but well oxygenated. However I had baited the areas that had extra depth. I wondered if perhaps a fish had visited the area I had baited earlier, fed and moved off or out of the slack water. With this in mind I tried a few trundles into the faster flow, this time the quiver tip bounced abruptly, almost like one of those wary bites where you don't expect to get another, this was not to be the case as the line went slack as the fish picked up the bait and moved toward me.

On setting the hook I was connected to a chub that was convinced it was a distant relative to trout as it attempted to tail walk multiple times. It was obvious this fish had been enjoying the smorgasbord that I had baited with, as once it was on the unhooking mat liquidised bread poured from its thick set mouth.


As darkness began to set in I moved to a new swim, one with bushes either side of the opposite margin, a juicey worm was soon placed between them and whilst waiting to see if this swim might have someone at home I was drawn to thoughts of how quickly this season had sped by and I recounted the enjoyable trips, chuckling about the mishaps that had happened along the way.

By now the wind was easing a little and I could just make out the silhouette of a fox on the opposite bank as it padded its way through the field when the rod thudded twice before springing back into position.

What was to follow was moments of multiple madness, bites coming at regular intervals and it was evident that I had found a shoal of fish that were grouped up around these bushes and willing to feed very confidently, most of these falling to worm with the exception of the 3.12, which took a liking to the krill cheese paste.




The bites were slowly drying up and my eyes had started to fatigue a little, I did consider a move to another swim, but instead of doing this I decided to drop a little bit more Parmesan bread in and rest the swim for thirty minutes, giving me some time to rest my eyes and have a drink, I must admit I was feeling really happy with how the fishing trip was going. A quick look at my watch showed it had gone 10pm, the bait had been in the water for twenty minutes when I received the most delicate of plucks, followed by a real tip rattler, this seemed a very edgy bite,  no surprise given that I had taken a few fish from this swim.

The worm proved too tempting as the rod lurched forward and I was instantly connected to what felt a larger fish, head down, bullish and making a powerful dash for the sanctuary of the bushes, I had no intention of giving any quarter and allowed the rod tip to soak up as much of these sprints as possible whilst slowly coaxing the fish toward me. Once in the net I could see the broad flank of one of the bigger, bush swim inhabitants. 


By now it was pushing on for 11pm and I fancied wetting a line in one last swim, the kind that if you didn't know it was there you might easily pass it by and with just enough room for one rod, it was not so much of a cast as a underarm lowering that was needed to position the bait on the marginal gravel gully.

The river had been extremely generous during this trip and each swim had increased my excitement and expectancy, which was in itself unusual as although I am very optimistic when angling I always set out with a low expectation and like to take something from each trip that is enjoyable or can be used positively in future trips.

During this period I was drawn into deep thoughts about the new friends I had made this season thanks to angling and also those whom I had parted company with due to their lack of integrity. Thoughts of the latter hurt a great deal as we had spent some great trips together which we had both enjoyed, I had shown them swims, shared locations and techniques which apparently meant very little other than them using any venue info as a bartering tool with a well known angler who shall remain nameless, this amongst other issues that came to light unfortunately damaged our friendship.I guess you could allow one or two sour experiences to easily skew your view on friendship, but why let one or two bad experiences ruin the chance of other friendships from flourishing?  Although the cynic in me says that is a lot easier to type than it is to do.

I was brought back from chewing the cud by two very light plucks to the tip, followed by it sweeping round, I was met by what at first felt like a chub as it swam toward me, but the pace soon quickened and if this was a chevin it was most definitely on steroids. Off it surged downstream, the clutch on the little reel clicking away manically whilst I tried to cup the spool every few seconds and halt this fish from making for a snag downstream. Thankfully it decided to change direction and I made the most of this opportunity to gain some control and after more than one attempt slip the net under it.


A healthy boris was my reward, probably one of the best looking barbel I have ever caught for looks and colour, the paddle on it had certainly put me to the sword and nearly got the better.

This was to be final fish of the trip and as I waited for mum to come and pick me up it was with a  thankful gaze fixed on the river and a mind that was filled with evocative emotions, as final days go I could safely say that I was well and truly sated.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Brassy brace

Saturday lunchtime saw me heading out for a spot of chub hunting on a new reach of river.

I guess you could say I am a bit focused on them at the moment, admittedly I have a very good choice of rivers in my locality when it comes to the species, although some are more overlooked than others, waterways which are verging on almost neglected or ignored altogether and where a bit of homework can lead to some fruitful fishing.

It was a blustery day, but more mild than it has been of recent and without doubt a hint of springtime judging by the bird life activity, there were woodpeckers dotted about in pairs, the sound of them merrily hammering away at trees reverberated around me and at one point I had a Sparrowhawk land on a bough next to me, we shared an impromptu stare, his with a touch of disregard almost looking through me, before swiftly vanishing upstream. I tried to reach for the camera which I always have ready for a wildlife shot but alas it did not hang around. Not too long after this a Male Roe deer and his female companion sauntered into view, they looked content as they picked their way through the grass and had a good feed, she even stopped to poke her tongue out (that is what I like to think).

I had opted for a spot of link legering, chopping and changing between lob worm and a cheese paste recipe that has been catching me a few fish, a mixture of mature cheddar, blue cheese garlic and krill. Three perch later and I decided to make a change to the paste, a healthy piece was squeezed on to a size 8 hook and the bare minimum of free offerings placed downstream, sometimes less really is more and the scent trail this paste leaks off is akin to fermented shrimp combined with a pair of smelly socks!

Late in the afternoon as the drizzle set in I received a confident bite, the tip thudding round, this fish was rather bullish as it headed off toward a sunken branch on the opposite bank, a bit of coaxing and it was eventually back in the swim and ready for the net, a fine fish, long and chunky (5.1).

I pondered my options, I did not wish to release this fish back into the swim lest I spook any other chevin, so decided instead to keep it in the landing net and see if any others would be forthcoming. Twenty minutes later and that question was answered with another confident bite, this fish nearly had me in a snag, the line grating as I tried to stop it from making a headfirst dive into the undercut bank which had a few too many sunken snags for my liking. Sure enough it was a chunky fish, weighing a pleasing 5.10.

A brace of 5's (5.1 held and 5.10 resting on the mat)

Despite a few more inquisitive rattles no more fish were forthcoming and as daylight faded the blustery wind was soon accompanied by heavier rain, this was my cue to head off home. It had been a fine afternoon, the wildlife alone would have been reward enough, but this brassy brace was the perfect way to cap what had been a most enjoyable fishing trip.