Thursday, 26 January 2017

Time and space and another nice chub.

My other hobbie, indoor bowls has kept me busy the last week or so. A bunch of matches after Christmas had to be placed. I enjoy bowls, but during spells of high pressure I can't help but wonder what those barbel are doing? Next week I do finally have some 'space' in the diary, thank heavens.

I plan to do a bit of float making next winter, in place of my flytying that I no longer do, as I have stopped game fishing.  my other blog is effectively closed for the time being, but does have plenty of information still available. I'm getting inspiration from float maker George Lockhart at Amazing I'm sure you agree.
I need to buy a mini wood lathe, and find some spot in the conservatory her indoors won't complain at!

So Thursday I'm fishing, I should have a few days next week with any luck too!  I'll be back on the little river again, unless the Trent is up and it's mild. We'll see, sadly the recent forecast is for freezing cold and possibly snow. I don't mind fishing in the snow but not the driving too and from the river part.


The little river did not disappoint with another good fish over taken laying on with an Avon float in the margins. My float was no more than two yards downstream from my rod tip.. My second 'Five' in two trips. I really feel the river could turn up a 'Six' if luck stays with me and the weather turns mild, and the river stays coloured. Bread flake still reigns supreme, baiting with mashed bread, hemp, and luncheon meat right under my feet. 6.oz laying on with a Cork and Goose quill float.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Pay back.

After a few cold blank trips in sub-zero conditions I finally managed a nice fish.  Taken laying on after long trotting with maggots for two hours, I finally switched to bread fished in the margins. The water was coloured after recent rain, and very cold still. Cannot wait for some better conditions now I've found this new little river.

 Biggest chub for two years at 5lb 10oz.

Cold misty low light conditions, ideal fishing weather. But cold on the old feet!

Thursday, 29 December 2016

The friends we fish with.

We all fish for different reasons, some for the relaxation it provides, others to get away from the wife and kinds, or a stressful job. To some it's a sport, other it's a solitary pursuit. But for whatever reason we chose to fish our trips are shared with bank-side friends.

Firstly I think of myself as a naturalist and fisherman. It's strange how some people see fishing as a cruel sport, and anglers as torturous.  Truth is most anglers love the fish they catch, and the environment around them. Anglers fight fearsly for clean rivers, the protection of birds, animals, and naturally the fish they catch.
Many people ask me if I put my catch back, really believing I kill fish. For the record, I've never purposely killed any coarse fish, and haven't taken any wild brown trout in over 30 years.

A few weeks ago while fishing on the Trent and flock of long-tail tits landed in a tree beside me. There must have been over a dozen, up that close you see all the amazing colours these little birds have. They are without doubt the most gregarious of the tits, as they seem always to be in flocks.

Long tail tits.

Crows always watch fisherman. They visit the swims each time the angler moves, just to see if he's left anything to eat. They have the keenest eye's of all birds, seeing even a part eaten apple core from a hundred yards away.

Magpies are said to be the fisher-mans friend. As well as a keen eye, these birds are mega inquisitive. Leave a silver disgorger on the bank and walk away, the birds are down on it in moments, just to see what it is.

I see kingfishers on almost every trip, funny as it's a bird many people have never seen, ever! So sad because this little bird is electric in every way, how it looks, flies and feeds. I'm one of those fortunate anglers having had a king-fisher land on his rod top, looking for a spot to fish from. A day like that is as good as any.

We should never forget our environment is shared with with others, we should enjoy there presence.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Old school fishing. Laying on.

Years ago, "Laying on' was a very popular way of fishing for many species. From bream, roach and carp in lakes to barbel, chub, and perch in canals and rivers. But what is 'laying-on' how does it work, and why has it fallen out of favour in recent years. In fact if you Google it, it does not appear but the 'lift method' does?

Laying-on is a wonderful technique when fishing slow to medium pace rivers. It's both a visual and subtle way of catching fish that can be shy biting. I like to use small shot as my bulk (number 4s are ideal) normally around 8" to 12" from the hook. Then depending on flow rate a float fished some two feet over depth. If the flow is modest a 6 no 4 stick float with a shoulder would be my choice for chub   and barbel.

It's both a visual and sensitive way of fishing for many shy biting fish. There is nothing like watching a float glide away, knowing some fish has fallen for your bait. I'd much prefer to watch a float than a rod top or quiver tip, I also think the resistance is less with a fine float.

But sometimes when the river is up and swollen you have to use a bigger float, something like an Avon, with a cork or balsa body allowing more shot. At a time like this finding a slack or crease away from the main flow can be better than the main flow, unless your after barbel. Then right under your own bank-side with a big bait like worm or meat can work. It's amazing how many big roach I've taken at times like this laying on in slack water. As long as it's not collecting rubbish it's fine.

When long trotting in summer for barbel there are times the swims dies, as if all the fish have moved off. But by pushing up the float and laying on with a still bait can work wonders. ( This was a great tip given to me by a friend called Steve. He catches a lot of big barbel like this, and I'm going to use it more when trotting slows down.)  I think it's just the fish are collected and not intercepting a moving bait anymore. In another hour with constant feeding it can all change again.

Typical selection of river floats.

It works for most river species. Big perch are suckers for a big worm fished under a float, as are huge roach. Years ago when I fished a small river in Leicestershire big roach would appear after a flood in many of the slacks. We would fish large porcupine quill floats with worm or maggots as the bait. Fish that would never get caught during normal conditions, would put in an appearance. Fish over 2 lb     being caught during high water.

If you've not tried laying on give it a try, you may be surprised. You won't get that crick in the neck from looking upwards at rod tips all the time!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Popping down the river.

I'm not really fishing at the moment. I expect most of you that fish will understand what I'm trying to say. I need to get my fishing head on, have a project, objective to get me motivated. I have so much gear too, sorting it out for various species can be a right pain in the ass. I'm trying to get my tackle down to a manageable level, so I can see everything at a glance.

I've sorted out some light small rods, and intend to visit my local river rolling meat for chub, barbel. I'll have some bread too, just in case. Mash a little bread, re bait a few swims and see who we go?

Monday. Mid December.

Still bloody cold, but the river had some colour on my arrival and I doubted the rolling meat method would work due to lack of clarity. However, I gave it a go for a few hours and ended up with a nice chub or two that put a bend in the little Nash Scope. I'm sure this meat rolling has a lot of mileage and if I can get away toward the end of the week, the river should be perfect. It's surprising how little weight I really needed, just a swan shot in most of the swims. This piece of the upper river is very engaging with bends and pool very few hundred yards. Today trotting with meat or bread would have been better maybe, it's all about matching methods to conditions. A float would have given me more option like laying on, and better bite indication. The rolling meat style would work with a fluorescent   line, and six foot of clear leader, allowing one to see the line more clearly, also the bites from shy fish.

6' Scope rolled meat.

I pack up well before dusk as it was getting cold at 3pm. It was home for a warm and welcome cuppa.

See you on the bank.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Looking forward.

It's too cold to go sitting on a river bank right now. The temperature is just above freezing, and the wind cuts like a cheese wire through your clothing. Thirty to forty years ago I'd have gone anyway despite the weather, and probably caught something. Fish still feed this weather but feeding times are to unpredictable for my liking.

I told him to come in hours ago!

So I'm sat at home watching season six of Game of Thrones, wrapped up all warm and snug. It's time to look at all the new fishing gear available on websites and eBay. I'm never surprised at the amount of new\used carp gear coming on eBay at this time of year. Too many have high expectations, buy all the gear, then realise it's not as easy as they make it look on Youtube.

Trapping, baiting up then putting a sophisticated rig in over it, is the way it's shown to be. Few new anglers learn any hunting skills. The human eye is replaced with heavy leads, and the latest bait. Stealth replaced with long sessions baiting programmes. It works sometimes, but it often doesn't, hence the short life of the modern carp angler. To learn about fishing you have to catch fish, so you can experiment. Catching nothing just damages your enthusiasm.

I really cannot not catch for long. A few sessions and then I have to go to an easy water.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Daiwa Spectron float rod 13/16' review.

Ive had this rod for a few months now, and my initial impression is very favourable. In fact I'd go as far to say it's an idea barbel float rod.

I brought this rod for a specific task. Allowing me to fish for big barbel on the river Trent with floats, either sticks, or wagglers. The rod is rated for lines 3lb to 8lb this seems spot on. I have been using 6lb main line ( Daiwa sensor ) the line breaks over 6lb around 8lb I'm told. The leader is a Power line rated for just 6lb. Connected with a small swivel I've found it always breaks at the power line knot, so I'm safe if a fish snags me.

So what's so good about this rod. Well first it screams quality, from the handle and reel seat, to the rings and extra section to make a longer rod. At 16' you would not know its 4 piece, the progressive power runs right through the blank into the blanks cork handle. I worried the first time I hooked a big barbel, but the rod simply controlled the fish and allowed me to manage a good double figure fish into the net.

It's a light rod, but not as light as another 4 piece 16' I own. But the blank quality is much higher on the Daiwa. Quality means better carbon/graphite stronger walls, hence the slight extra weight! But it's not over heavy when teamed with a four and half inch centrepin. It's a rod that promotes comments from other anglers, it's that or the pin that freaks them out?

Bargains can be found on EBay. I got this rod with 40% off. It was new, but had no rod bag, and was classed as a demo model. At £240 are they worth it, yes every penny, it's such a versatile rod. At 13' it's an ideal pellet waggler for for bigger venues for carp.  At full length it's the perfect barbel float rod. All in all a rod I'll keep for the long term as I know I couldn't buy better.