Thursday, 27 August 2009

Blythe Waters with Pete

Thursday 27th August, 16:15 - 19:50. Blythe Waters Home Pool with Pete. 18C, dry with SW 10mph.

Pete and I fished Blythe waters after work this evening in a joint attempt for Roach / Rudd. It's been a long time since Pete and I have fished together and although we are both seriously competitive and talk at work almost exclusively about our shared plight to catch a wide variety of big fish this year none of this angst was present once on the bank together.

We both fished up in the water on light float tackle. We were both after either a good Roach or Rudd. I already had a decent Roach in the bag and a point scoring Rudd, Pete was on the board with a Roach but had not had a Rudd and so was always the more likely to come away with something this evening.

I fished a centrepin newly loaded with 2.6lb line to a 1.7lb hook length and an 18 hook on a 14ft Fox Match rod and 4x14 pole float. I was flicking the line out overhead into the calm water in the lee of the wind. We both sprayed maggots out lightly throughout the session, trying to bring the fish up in the water. We could see fish 'swirling' at the loose bait pretty much from the outset.

We both caught continuously but strangely I had far more Rudd than Pete and he far more Roach than I. We both caught our share of Perch and Hybrids. I've learned this year that Roach / Bream hybrids scrap really well which is surprising as you would think that a fish which has anything remotely to do with a Bream would give up almost instantly.

Pete caught a 9oz Rudd which earns him bronze points. He also had two, yes two, 15oz Roach! If either had been an ounce heavier he would have had more pointage. I laugh loudly.

Once again I took only a few photos but this time the excuse is that the fishing was so intense there was hardly time to pause for thought. It was a case of finding the rhythm of feeding, casting, and unhooking, and once found you couldn't break your stride. It would be like stopping for a beer mid jog - you would never start running again. We both missed calls and left text messages unanswered for fear of losing focus. Pete even skipped his seven o'clock cup of cocoa and waved his hemorrhoid treatment in the name of fishing.

I'm still scraping it;


Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The Wharfe in The North

Monday 24th August, 16:00 - 20:00hrs. River Wharfe, Wetherby. Really persisting then clearing. 20C and cooling fast.

I had reason enough for a trip to Wetherby with work this Monday and after Pete had had success with Grayling whilst fishing with a mutual colleague up here, I asked our man in the North if I could climb on board .... and he said yes.

Nick Sutton generously guided me on the river almost literally at the bottom of his garden in my attempt to catch my first Grayling.

First thing to say is that the Wharfe could not look more different to the lowland rivers of the midlands. Hard bottomed and the colour of strong tea, shallow and fast moving in places. Prone to sudden spate and looking like a thoroughbred Salmon motorway it was a true coarse / game hybrid habitat.

Local knowledge is a hard earned and valuable asset when on new water and given Nick's school mate and local fishing stablemate was Darren Cox I listend to every pointer offered.

Let's face it, it's a two hour drive up here and I had the light and the clock loud in my ears whilst trying to catch a Grayling and fish with a new pal. Ever noticed how you always botch a cast when someones watching?

It commenced raining as we were walking to the river and just got heavier and heavier for about an hour. The rain kept up until after six o'clock which meant the first half of the session was pretty uncomfortable to say the least. It hampered photography completely and so regrettably I have fewer photos than I might have liked.

The approach was to fish a medium weight stick float at near dead depth and to feed maggots upstream.

The first run we tried was a cracking looking crease swim with all the depth on the near bank. I fished it OK (I think) but only had minnows from here. The rain had soaked me through by the time we finished in this swim and the bran from the maggots was caking my wet fingers, not nice.

We moved upstream to the bridge, waded out to an island mid river then upstream again to face the bridge struts. It was here that Pete had his Grayling a month or so ago.

Under instruction I fed maggots into the almost slack water behind the stanchions and cast upstream into the hole behind the bridge. The float drifted slowly left to right in the competing circular flows at the back of the bridge. After about fifteen minutes I had my first bite - a small chublet. It was still hammering it down at this time and we both agreed to keep a close eye on the river levels using a mortar line on the bridge as a guage as we were now mid river. It never ceases to amaze me the power that even calf high water has to dislodge your foothold when wading. Couple this with slippery rocks and a rising river and self-preservation is woven into the fishing canvas.

My second fish was my first ever Grayling. After a short wiry fight and a writhing unhooking the fish was weighed at thirteen ounces. The combination of the heavy rain and Nick's estimation that we would catch both further and larger fish meant I left the camera in the relative dry of my shoulder bag.

A flurry of fish followed including Chublets, some really lovey looking Perch up to 1lbs 11oz and another Grayling the same size as the first.

The bites slowed up a bit after this and I had to pull for a break three times in quick succession on the same snag. It was as though the snag had just appeared as I had been fishing trouble-free before this.

I fished on until I pulled for my fourth and final hooklength break at eight o'clock. The light was now fading and with the long drive home starting to loom large I called it a day. I just had the two Grayling in the end and the nice Perch in competition terms. Unfortunately the rain prevented a photo of the Grayling but I have a stout witness in Nick my guide.

The 'silver' Grayling and 'bronze' Perch give me the lead back in our competition. The scores on the doors are now;

A big thanks once again to Nick Sutton for his hospitality on this trip - he never even wet a line! Perhaps the intense concentration on my face throughout belied the need for me to catch that Grayling!


Me and My Boy

Sunday 23rd August, 16:00 - 18:00hrs. Hopsford Hall. Warm and breezy.

Had a couple of hours at Hopsford Hall with Max after Roach this afternoon.

Kept everything very simple - fished maggot on a whip to hand. We had around fifteen Roach to approximately 10oz, some of which he struck, swung in and returned by himself (after I'd unhooked them).

It took roughly a quarter of a ton of confectionery and crisps to bribe him into staying for the duration, most of which time was spent playing with the maggots rather than fishing but hey, it's a start.


Spinning Before a Work Party

23rd August, 07:15 - 09:30hrs. Ryton Pool. Warm and dry.

I tried spinning for Pike at Ryton. I did a circuit of the pool with the lure that produced the recent interest on the Leam but didn't have a sniff.

I met a fellow member who has read this blog and - compared to me - knows his onions when it comes to predator fishing so am looking forward to a trip together in the autumn.

If nothing else I've met some good people through keeping this blog.


Sometimes I Just Can't Help Myself....

Friday 21st August, 20:00 - 22:45. Brandon Marsh. Dark by 20:45! Cooling later.

I have very little self-control and am often an impulsive and driven individual when it comes to fishing.

My self-imposed Brandon moratorium lasted little more than two days once I returned from my holiday. The theory was to 'step away from the Brandon' for the remainder of August and to fish elsewhere to remind myself what catching fish was like. But come the end of two days back at work and being deprived of the English countryside for so long images of Brandon swirled around my brain in quiet moments or as I tried to sleep at night.

I took a couple of pints of particles and some nuts and fished a light waggler lift style on a Barbel rod and centrepin at close range. I arrived at dusk (rod already set up) and crept into position. I even did without my chair and left it behind on the bank as I thought it would make too much noise on the boards.

A swan saw me arrive and came over to have a nut party - I'd bought the nibbles. This prevented me chucking any loose bait in for the first half hour whilst I tried to persuade it that it should go away in short jerky movements.

Eventually it started feeding about twenty yards away and every time it put it's head under the water I managed to get a handful of bait out. I was watching it out of the corner of my eye and when it's head came back up and looked at me I looked away nonchalantly - I did everything but whistle as if to look as if I was up to nothing.

My mood was earnest and I sat still as a Heron for almost three hours as I was fishing so close in, moving slowly and deliberately, and only when my legs went sleep.

I might as well have been sitting in the middle of a roundabout in town looking like a prick for all it was worth though.

Apart from two sideways indications on the float which I interpreted as large fish leaving the cover to my left and moving out into the main body of the lake the float remained as still as the lump on the other end of the rod. Of course I struck at the sideways indications but touched nothing.

I left with my state of mind back where it was before my holiday and the moratorium back on, concreted in and with a barbed wire fence around it so no bugger could lift it.


Touchdown, Sleep, Service / MOT & Carp

Weds 19th August, 13:00 - 17:00hrs, Lavender Hall, Hot and clear but windy.

Touchdown sounds a bit too glamorous really. Suffice to say we returned from our family holiday in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

My car was booked in for a service and MOT at noon at the dealership in Berkswell. Whilst the mechanics worked I took the opportunity to fish the Station pool at Lavender Hall after Carp. Tackle was minimalist; rod, centrepin reel, a few hooks, a loaf of bread and a net. The most extravagant item was the price of the ticket to fish - £10 for four hours!!

Unlike my last visit the Carp were not visible on the top. The breeze was strong and I think the ripple kept them down a bit. I started in the windward margins but it took a while to get a bite. Neither surface baits or large flakes on the bottom attracted much interest other than small fish nibbling them.

The first fish came to a solitary piece of crust left dangling in the water over the top of some Iris; an upper double common. No scales or camera I'm afraid, both were still somewhere in a suitcase on the dining room floor at this point. It was a good fight and a nice welcome-home fish.

Although I persevered with the windward edge nothing more happened. It's the school holidays and frequently kids who were fishing would leg it round the lake to either get to a bleeping alarm or talk to their mates. I've got no problem with kids fishing but kids will be kids and they are noisy - I was exactly the same.

Spying the corner furthest away from all human activity I though it was worth a look. It was on the back of the wind, shallow and in full sun but it's redeeming feature was I hadn't seen anyone walk round it in the last hour. I crept into position and peered over the top of the bankside cover. I could see a large common and a few other Carp mooching around. I offered them some bread and the big Common took it in a very relaxed way. I missed it on the strike, but amazingly the fish didn't spook. It moved off slowly though and I changed target fish. Still low and concealed I offered another piece of bread on the surface and a second Carp sucked it down. After another scrap this was a mirror about 15lbs.

Two final noteworthy events. When crouching down in the quiet bay red ants crawled up my legs and bit me in numerous and manly places. Trying brush the little attackers off without expleting and staying low was hard and made me laugh. The car passed it's MOT.

Given this is a small pool which gets a lot of fishing attention I believe the Carp had sussed out that the quiet bay had no one fishing near it and was therefore safe. On modern pressured waters like this I believe the fish's habits have as much to do with anglers whereabouts as they do the weather.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Three Hits and a Jack (Are they 21!?)

3rd August, River Leam at Willes Road Bridge, 18:00 - 19:20. Overcast but mild and dry.

I fished an hour or so before a fishing meeting (....if Carlsberg made meetings....) on the Leam in Leamington Spa.

I was spinning for Pike. I covered the short stretch from the bridge downstream with my favourite blair spoon without incident. Upon reaching the canoe club at the end of the stretch four very athletic young things started exercising on the grass and doing laps on the path. I freely admit this knocked my concentration a bit. It was like oversized weebles invading a bouncy castle. I walked back upstream to start again at the road bridge.

Still not fully focused I bounced a few lures off the bridge struts and then branches of various trees, luckily escaping each time with my lure - now a 'Triple Charlie' segmented plug in tact.

Thankfully I then had a hit from a Pike near the edge which pulled me back out of the real world and into an angling one. Focus regained I redid the whole swim (properly this time) and had another hit close in.

Not being able to tempt this fish again I moved down and quickly caught a Jack Pike of 2lbs 40z, very slim but long. I didn't bother taking a photo.

I worked my way down to the canoe club again but no further interest. Thankfully the side show had also departed. As I made my way back to the road bridge and parked car for the final time I made short stops in the most likely looking spots and had one more hit from a Pike which didn't hook up.

This second lure I was using flew true and so by the time I was finishing up I had it's measure. I was taking real joy from casting it across the river and landing it in the bay of some lily pads or scudding a low one under the branches of far side trees. I even deliberately bounced it off the underside of a bridge arch at one point so it hit the water in the middle of the stream. The action of the cast, left shoulder, right shoulder, low and up, then feathering the braided line off the reel was the backbone of the art. I'm no prof. but I came away without tackle loss which is good for me!

I'm off on my holidays now so will not post again until late August.


Tonight do you think I will go to bed thinking of Pike?

Nah. Weebles.


I, Mr Bignob Legalissimo issue this statement on behalf of my client Mr Keith Jobling:

After seeing the photo of Pete's 3lb 14oz 'Crucian' from Ryton Pool, both parties have agreed to strike it from the Fishing Challenge records. Mr Jobling deeply regrets questioning the marital status of Pete's parents in an email response to the photo and Pete now admits the parentage of the fish is certainly dubious.

For the record, the revised scores on the doors are now;

Scroll down if you want to see it then.........

keep scrolling......

a little further......

just a few more lines.....................


It's a Goldfish.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Oh Dear. There Goes My Lead....

...... must try harder.

Too much time faffing around at Brandon methinks.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Spinning at Ryton

Saturday 1st August, 18:00 - 20:00, Ryton Pools. The rain with us all day had blown over, W, 17C.

Finding an hour or so this Saturday evening I bolted to Ryton with Perch in mind. I'd picked up a spinner bait selection from Aldi recently and have now replaced all the trebles after the recent losses on the 'Blythe with a 'Y' blog entry.

I started on peg one and within two casts had a Perch!

Within four casts I'd had another!

This second one weighed eight ounces, nothing subsequently topped this weight.

I had two further Perch from this first peg before starting to make my way round the pool.

Although I had numerous other 'follows' from Perch on other pegs I hooked no more.

With the competition points firmly in mind I switched to a large Blair spoon to try and tempt a 10lb+ Pike.

I worked my way from the sand bank back to peg one fishing the large spoon but apart from the odd weed bed offering resistance nothing with fins increased my pulse rate.