Saturday 30 November 2013

Roving for Winter Barbel.

 This morning I gave the Pike fishing a short break and went trotting for a Barbel or two, the river was low and clear as it hasn't rained for over a week and for me those conditions are perfect as I like to fish for Barbel stalking style, travel very light with the most basic of gear and your not trotting properly unless you are using a centre-pin, it makes life so easy and the direct fight to the fish is second-to-none, the control is also unbeatable.

 I only had a couple of hours on the river and spotting Barbel was proving to be difficult and only saw half a dozen whilst I walked maybe 2 miles of river and on my second cast of the day I connected with a good Barbel, I trotted down about 20 yards to where I scouted out a couple of beards sat on the bottom at the end of a gravel run in around 3ft of water, on the first cast I was fishing a little too much over depth and the shot caught on the bottom and the float vanished but I knew it wasn't a take, so I shortened the depth to around 4inches over-depth and the next cast was soon met by a Barbel as the float confidently buried itself, the fight that ensued was brilliant, the one that didn't want to give up.

 Another good average Barbel of 7lb 1oz, only if every species of fish fought this hard and on a cane rod the power the Barbel generate is relentless, much better than carbon rods but everybody has their own opinion, the only down side is that you are not in control as much as you may like to be, but apart from that, there's nout better. But for rest of the morning I didn't add to my earlier Barbel but it was a nice trip out. Wednesday I may head off out and resume my quest for Pike, nearly half way to my target of 200lbs.
My Barbel trotting setup, 3SSG loafer but I use 5AAA shot to still weigh the loafer float down but allows me to still hold back the float and get the bait ahead of the shot and float, usually very deadly for Barbel but it also works very well for winter Chub too.

Friday 29 November 2013

The Royalty Take Three.

 Since the weekend I've been sat at work clock watching and with good reason too, the last few days Brian author of Pike Blog and myself were planning a trip to Walthamstow reservoir, but as we checked the conditions for Wednesday we concluded the weather was ideal for both a trip to Tottenham or a nice excursion to the lush green of Dorset, it was obviously the latter that was decided on and as soon as I threw the Royalty into the mix there was no other winner, Brian's first trip to this magical fishery and my opportunity to emulate my last trip up here nearly 2 months ago. 2 months already.......... How time fly's.

An early start
 For once I managed to catch my train, Brian already at the station we was all good to go, two hours later we were at Christchurch and with an hour of us starting the session looked bright as my float fished Sprat decided to come to life and wander off, ten seconds after the initial pickup I lent into a Pike, not one that the fishery is famed for but an Esox all the same and it was nice to get one on the board so early on, at 6lbs the fight was fairly poor but it certainly made up for it out of the water.

 After that Pike we decided to stick around a little while longer based on the assumption that if one was on the prowl then more would be, but it turns out after a further 30 minutes nothing else was, so on the move we went, fishing parts of the Trammels and the little weir and its link to the bottom of watermeet, persevering with that stretch of water after a couple of hours we were with
out any indication of life, it was fishing quite hard, maybe Brian's first trip down here wasn't going to be straight forward as we hoped.

The Pike saw that pose and thought otherwise.

 Dusk came and went too quickly for our liking, with the light failing at 355 it was too short to try and influence anything but as night settled in we headed back to The Piles and put out a couple of baits, on the bottom and under float, to try and find out where they were feeding, but as 6 approached we only got one more knock and that was a smash and grab off of a Pike on Brians ledgered Sprat but unfortunately couldn't connect to for reasons I wont divulge, all in all it was a cracking day out as it always is but its a shame that Brian didn't catch one of the resident Esox, but that's fishing, we will both certainly pay another visit come mid-December. They will only be getting bigger.......maybe a twenty pounder, I wish. But until next time tight lines.

Sunday 24 November 2013

Winter Piking Challenge.

 Over the past month or so since the official Pike season started my ambition was to come into contact with a new personal best Pike, Perch and Zander, so far this season I have been lucky enough to have already caught a large Pike, or by my standards as Pike go, a mammoth one. The Hampshire Avon at Christchurch has been nothing short of magnificent, a truly magical venue for me, I will be returning back there at some point this winter to give it another go for maybe something of monstrous proportions, by god it is capable of it.

 I have tried 5 rivers over the last two months and have been successful on all but one of them, 2 lakes have both been successfully targeted as well, although the Esox Lucius have not been large I have gained much satisfaction from catching off the lakes due to the small head of Pike that exist in both, the rivers however possess some enormous Pike and Perch which I may some day catch. Zander on the other hand may prove to be a tougher challenge, selecting venues to find them may take a lot more work than Pike or Perch, so the Zander may be the hardest of my winter targets.

 Tactics for the Pike that I have caught have been a mixture of dead baiting under float and the use of a plethora of lures and spinners, the 2 doubles that I have caught have both been caught on dead baits, but I will hopefully soon be able to apply my newly learned trade on a couple of reservoirs and I may one day manage to get a trip booked to visit the mecca of big Pike, the one and only Chew Valley, but before I do try my hand at such a large expanse of water I will try on some smaller ones closer to home, Walthamstow being one of them.

 I have done a fair amount of research on Pike and Perch over the last few months , trying to put my self in a better position to achieve my challenge, knowing your quarry will in theory help me greatly, as the winter deepens I will be increasing my time on the bank for the predators, whether it be lakes, rivers or canals.

My Avon monster at 19.5 my current PB.
Lake caught 6lber
My largest lake Pike at 8.13

My first double of the season, 11lb 3oz
My first ever lake Pike. 5.2
Another River Mole 5.

A miniature Avon Esox.
A Mole 5lber
 This winter I have decided to create myself a challenge, that challenge is a combined weight of 200lbs of Pike, 5 doubles or over, these fish can be caught off of any water, within England only and using only dead baits and lures, spinners or jigs, the total weight of the Pike will be recorded on a table on my pages list on my homepage.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Four Season's in One Day.

 Today Pike fishing was on the agenda as the weather has turned a lot colder and certainly seems the right time to be targeting them, my destination was the mighty Thames, I was going to use a 6ft spinning with a selection of lures and divers and a second rod was a bit more stout which I had baited with a dead Roach.

Hail storm on it's way.

 I left the house in the pouring rain and the wet stuff persisted for around 2 hours by which time I was nearly soaked through and no sign of any fish and it wasn't until around 2 o'clock that I actually got an enquiry on the deadbait, a slight bob on the float and a short run commenced, I waited for the bite to develop and then strike but it didn't materialize and the fish dropped the bait, it took over an hour to get another sight of a fish, it had been a very difficult day and the sight of the next fish was that of a Pike of around 5-6lbs which followed my Rapala diver on the retrieve but backed off as the lure approached the bank, that follow was the last action of the day as well, my only day-off and I drew a blank in the pissing rain and hail, and not to mention the mercury struggled into single figures before midday, but another time for sure I know the Perch and Pike frequent the areas I explored so, "I will be back".

Nout on the chew.

Thames in Autumn splender

Sunset on a cold day, which heralded the end of the trip.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Gudgeon and other stuff.

 This morning I headed off out to do some trotting, armed with my cane rod and pin I fancied having a go for the silvers, Roach, Dace, Gudgeon and the rare Rudd were all possible targets, the river was up as high as it has been recently but the colour was dropping out of it pretty quickly. Bread was my chosen bait along with a small chunk of meat as a back up plan, my rig was fairly simple - a 6x no4 wire stem float and a size 12 barbless hook.

 A couple of hours passed and I had nothing to show for my efforts but as I reached the upper limits of my beat that I selected to fish I started to get a few takes and after 45 minutes or so I managed a Roach, 6 Gudgeon and a lovely Brown Trout which was bit of a surprise as I've only ever once caught one in the lower reaches and I did also manage a good sized Barbel too which put up a great fight which is always a bonus.

A pound + Brownie.
7lb 5oz, always a pleasure to catch.


The chunkiest Gudgeon I ever seen.

  More photo's to 

Sunday 10 November 2013

New Recruits to the Box.

 The last couple of days I've been purchasing a few additions to my lure collection, a majority of the rivers, lakes and canals that I fish aren't usually deep, so the lures and spinners I've been snapping up are for depths of like 4 feet with a max dive depth of say 6 feet, now a lot of the weed has been washed out of the rivers or it has died back on the lakes it's now time to start working the artificial baits.

 Most of my collection are Rapala's and Abu Garcia lures, they may cost a bit more than the usual standard lures but they work so much better than cheaper ones but the extra money spent is well worth it, Mepps spinners are definitely the best but go for nearly £5 each, where as a Abu Garcia spinner comes in at around £3.50 and almost as good.


 The smaller ones are perfect for Perch but I expect a couple of Pike will take a liking to them, all lures that I fish with are connected to 25lb wire traces so the toothy buggers don't bite through my line and the length of the spinning traces I use are usually longer than live or dead bait traces by a few inches due to the velocity that the lures can be taken at sometimes, maybe just a precaution but it has saved me a couple of times in the past when a spinner or lure has been swallowed fairly deep.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

A wet day out on the banks.

 The last week or so I've been trying to plan a half day trip out in search of Chub, the last couple of days I also kept one eye on the weather to see if it was due to rain, Wednesday ( today ) was the only day of the week on the forecast that said it wasn't raining and I woke up this morning to see it pouring down, I wasn't looking forward to getting wet but oh well, I'm not a fair weather angler and these conditions are only a minor setback, an hour or so later and I was at the river, to be fair I was expecting it to be much higher and coloured so it was a bonus, but the rain had soaked through all my clothes and the wind was making everything a challenge.

 My first two casts though produced Chub, the latter a shade under 4lbs the first one was of an average size, 3lb or so, the fights were all pretty good by Chevin standards which put a healthy bend in the Seeley every time, then it went fairly quiet so a little change of bait and depth soon found the fish again and with 10 casts I had four Chub, two of which were over 4lbs, then the small Chub started to move in and nicking small pieces of my bait as it trotted down through the nervous shoal.

Biggest of the day at 4.5

Another two Chevin's at 4.1 & 4.3.

My Chub trotting rig, fished with a size 10 hook.
Your everyday friendly Swans, de-weeding the river.

 After about an hour of trotting I moved swim as the bites dried right up, the next couple of swims were very overgrown so I didn't bother fishing it, as winter takes hold most of the vegetation will die back so I will visit those spots closer to February time and my foray down stream only provided me with two more Chub another of which was a good 3 maybe a 4lber but I slipped it straight back and maybe hoped for a Roach but the usual tactics that work for the whiley Redfin's didn't today but another time too, after that I decided to have a go for a Pike or two on a lake en-route home.

 For the Pike my setup was as simple as can be, a 6ft Shimano lure rod, 6lb line on a light spinning reel and a selection of coloured Rapala lures connected to a 25lb wire trace to protect me from being bitten off by a Pike, it took some serious work though to get a take, 100 odd casts into various places bought nothing but silk weed and leaves which was annoying as it happened on nearly every cast but when it happened it was worth it, the monotony was broken by a sharp thump on the rod and then the simultaneous stripping of line commenced, something had a hold of my gold & silver Rapala and headed off out into the deeper water, my tackle isn't what you would call stout but after a good battle and a couple of tail walks later the magic wand succumbed the Esox and she or he lay in my net.

 Note to self: Remember forceps, it's a darn sight easier to unhook Pike.

8.14 of pure muscle, in beautiful autumn condition.

A very dingy day but ideal conditions for Pike and Chub, both of which I had caught.
 A good solid Pike and for my endeavour I think I earned that one, the wind was in my face the whole time and the driving rain was driving me crazy but I stuck it out and got my reward, maybe one a bit bigger next time would be great. Off to the Royalty again next Wednesday for my brothers birthday bash, a day out arranged for the old man and my two younger brothers, whom are all very confident Pike anglers so it could be a very good days fishing, let's hope they are on our wave length.

What A Start!

   Since the river season ended I've taken a 3 week hiatus from fishing, work as usual the excuse! Storm Kathleen however was predicted ...