Sunday, December 13, 2009


If its not torrential rain its now the start of the frosts, my piking challenge has taken quite a hit...

i have found it difficult to do more than the odd 2 hour session a week since my last posting,

i have seen 3 2hr blanks on a local canal

1 small jack spinning in two short sessions on the basingstoke canal

and a quick 2 hrs at Blackleach - my mate Geoff joined me and dad for a quick deadbait session.

Geoff is off to Afghan serving with the Army and wanted a last taste for a few months - right as the 2hr mark hit he got a run, struck into it but it dropped off - on inspection of the deadbait it looked more like a perch had grapped it with a couple of tiny lacerations near the tail,

It could have been a terrapin!!!! - i have had one the size of my hand out of there!!!

So over the Xmas period i will dedicate my pike challenge to geoff - i want to catch a few beasties and send him the piccies to spur him on until his return.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Canal Piking Part3

I have targeted the swim i took the 9lber from with a view of assessing the number of fish that may frequent this area.

First session was on Nov5th - i took my grandson and we did 2.5hrs - 2 rods with deads on fished close to the overhanding bushes on the far side and 1 spinning rod with a selection of plastic lures/spoons.

It rained like hell - blank.

Sat 7th - went to the same stretch but couldnt get the peg - someone else was in it spinning - tried 2 hrs in the rain same tactics and nothing....

Went back on the Sunday and put in about 20 bits of fish over two spots.

Sun 15th - went to the target spot again with same tactics - it was a clear and bright morning - expectation was high.
2.5hrs later - nothing

I read an article on PACGB website by a well known piker Dave Horton who wrote when it rained he didnt go out anymore - this was after years of evidence that results declined during hard rain.

Looking at my own results in this situation over the years i tend to agree.
In this stretch the results are not good - even with a bit of pre-baiting - which suggests there are pike but few and far between - there is a fair bit of pressure on the stretch so i think that has taken its toll - even my banker swim didnt come up with the goods.

I will now try the same exercise on the the river and a local pit - see if the results are any better.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Local Canal Piking part2

After telling my dad that a 2 hr attempt would be futile after a few previous failed attempt i decided to give it a try.

the stretch was busy with about 10 anglers mainly pikers over a half a mile stretch - dad and i took a unfashionable peg which i new had produced pike close to an overhanging tree in the past.

I remember pulling a pike out of the favoured peg last winter to be told by a guy on this peg he had 3!!!

The only run of the 2hrs - a great fight and a 9lber - felt great to be proved wrong - thanks dad.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The WYE adds sparkle

Because i felt stale with the results of the two quests I was undertaking on very hard stretches of river, Kennet town centre and Irwell I decided to orgainise the annual day out to the Wye with my dad and two mates.

One,Geoff lives near Hereford so he arranged the day tickets for the Hereford AA stretch - we just had to leave at stupid o'clock to meet him for first light for a days piking & barbel bashing.
With only a few decent pegs on the stretch we decided that 2 would do the barbelling and 2 would be on the move for pike.

The Start
My dad and Chris put together the barbel rods with Geoff and I helping with the rigs, 8lb mainline, 8lb braid hooklink and the usual hair rig halibut pellet with scaleded pellets / groundbait/pellet in the feeder.
When I came to put my pike rod together I noticed that the handle on the brand new Prologic XLNT baitfeeder had dropped off while I was carrying it in the quiver - damn… I searched to no avail ruined a reel and lost 1 hr trying to find it.
Chris and Dad were getting touches from the off - but Geoff and I left them for a good pike spot some 250 metres upstream - It was my turn to start the "sink and draw" approach (on my second rod/real) using sardine as bait - second cast and we both could see this 10lber follow the bait right up to the bank. I slowed the retrieve to a stop 2 yards in front of me and twitched the bait. The Pike amazingley lay next to the bait and wouldn’t take it - every twitch and change of direction was met by the same move from the pike - but no take. Then right behind the small double we saw a big old girl - it was huge - at least a "20" it dwarfed the other pike - it too moved in formation with the bait and first pike - but at no time for over 15 mins of the pike moving away me re-casting did it take the bait - even Geoff could induce it to take onhis turn - we finally scared them off and on my last cast of the hour I hit into a small jack which fell off after a few seconds - typical!!!.
Then Geoff's wife and kids arrived - and when I told them about my real - they said they had come across the handle back near the opening - 30mins later - £1 each they had found it - best catch of the day by a mile.
Chris & Dad had missed a few bites so Chris decided to swap with me and went Piking with Geoff.
I changed the approach on the rods and added more scaleded pellets - it seems to work
First dad was in on a tentative bite - it was a beauty - he played for 20 mins and finally got in a barb at 8.6 - then it was my turn - a barb of over 4lb.

I let Chris have the rod and i converted the pike rod and moved downstream - first cast and whack - I was in again - this time it was a better stamp and weighed in at 7.6 (a new PB only just),

I then moved downstream again and first cast - I had to catch my rod - it didn’t feel a monster until I saw it was a chub - got it in - my 4lb was in the balance - at 4.2lb - a new pb by 2oz
3 pbs I long day and I found my handle

Chris was gutted - the first time he has been off the fish on the annaul barbel trek,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kennet Quest part 8

I only had time for a 2 hr session before work on Weds morning.... floatfished bread as usual

Town centre & Recreation ground swims : no fish - a few plucks didnt connect - only small silverfish

Carp park swim : 1 roach again lots of action from silvers

Comments : I talked to a local old boy who was fishing and he said this free stretch had been hammered by the polish since they came to town - there was big fish but none showing in big numbers (when they are caught they are taken for the pot).

Not sure how much it is true - but for me after hitting good fish on my first sessions i no longer get anything but silvers... good for the future but its putting me off making time for the extra sessions i usually do.

i may have to re-think this one!!!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Local Canal Pike

A lot has been written about rivers/canals losing their ability to produce good catches and more recently AT columnists stating "there back"

The truth is when a place gets fished to death or sees big numbers of cormorants etc the water will decline - sometimes drastically - then when left alone for a few years the fish stocks will return.

My local canal is for me getting worse each year - i still see too many fishers of all type for it not to get its rest - i went piking for 2 hours on Sunday - first session my dad has been able to do for a month due to illness and there were bivvy boys, kids and all sorts throwing a line.

We didnt expect more nor did we get anything on 1 float fished dead lamprey and 1 spinning rod. I have done piked fish this canal since last Jan, when i got the below fish - a 7lber

I hear stories of big girls coming out to 30lb but only ever had them to 9lb from this water - i do think the stretches near me are passed their sell by date - for now!!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Kennet Quest part 7

Last week - After cancelling a mid week trip to the Wye at the 11th hour i had to have a quick attempt on the Town centre stretch with heavy barbel gear and large halibuts - to no avail - i went back this week with the usual soft rod and float fished bread approach.

Weds morn 2 hrs
Town Centre swim 1 hr - slow with just 1 bream to 1.5lb
Car park - 1 hr - blank

Weds evening 1 hr - torrential rain
Car park - a few bites but blank

Comments - i am getting it all wrong lately - Thurs a.m before work was lovely and i spent it in bed (lazy) after getting drenched on the weds eve - i decided with wet cloths i would forget Thurs morn - wrong move.....

I havent got into any decent fish since my first couple of visits

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kennet quest part6

Another few short sessions - got talking to a local bloke who said big chub and a few barbel had come from the stretch - he recommended i try the weir on paste/pellet - next session i will oblige.

Tues evening 1 hr - 1 chublet, 2 roach

remarks: did a couple of swims at the back of the cricket ground & recreation centre - saw a nice chub follow the bread downstream.

Weds morn - 2hrs - 2 roach, 1 chublet, 1 bream 3lb 12oz
remarks : did the town centre only 2 roach, lots of knocks but no bigger fish, got the bream on a swim full of swans - didnt expect that!!!.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Whats the size of this Wye pike......

Could you post a comment with what you think it weighs and i will go with the consensus. JUST CLICK THE COMMENTS LINK AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POSTING AND LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS!!!!

A mate of mine Geoff (pictured) is lucky enough to live near the Wye and although he works away he loves attacking the barbel and pike when he can.

He caught this fish last w/e and borrowed someone's scales - they fish weighed about 14lb - but a later smaller fish weighed about the same.... he's about 6.1 and has an athletic build (if that helps you with proportions).

I thought it was a 20 at first but i will settle for 17lb.

Whats your guess!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

pics in Angling Times

yes it finally happened - but not for me!!!

sent in pics to AT to be published of my grandson chris with his first Irwell roach and my dad's near 6lb blackleach tench.

waited about 3-4 weeks but they got published this week.

i cant wait to show my grandson - he has been asking when will he be in the "fishing paper"

hope it spurs him on for more angling success.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Kennet Quest part5

Another few hours on the town centre to recreation ground stretch.

Maybe i have set to high an expectation after taking good fish at the beginning of my quest - but i will keep up the challenge - in a swim a monster will be lurking and its upto me to find it so more of a roving approach from now on!!!!

Tues evening 1hr 50mins
Car park swim - 17 fish , chublet, raoch , dace , perch, gudgeon
Remarks : decided to attack this with maggot on a size16 to 4lb hook length to prove that with the right approach the fish abeit small can be caught - had 14 in the first hour but changed to bread - not quite as effective.

Thurs morning 2.5hrs
Town Centre swim - 1 roach in 1.5 hrs
Car park swim - 2 roach, 1 chublet
remarks - had to sort a reel/line problem before i set up so ended up kicking off at 6am - on 6lb hooklength - size 10 hook - hit a good chub that managed to shed hook to a snag (again) and then hit a good bream of about 3lb - kept pressure on but hook pull as i got it to the surface. Lots of pluck/pulls - but that was the only sign of good fish - you can tell with the bite as they are more positive.

Monday, August 10, 2009

River Irwell - again

After reading Manchesterfishingfiend blog on the Irwell barbel quest i thought it time to give the Irwell some effort again after leaving the M/cr centre stretches some weeks ago - between this river and Blackleach res i have 2 of the hardest waters in the Manchester area on my list.

Verdict - am i mad or ........

Anyway Sunday was bright when we hit the river at 6am - it looked great which is the kiss of death and i am told clear water does nothing for the fishing - one rod feeder one float for the small bits - but after 2.5hrs we didnt have a single bite nor see the usual minnows attack the maggotts/bread.

Spoke to a guy who fishes the water regulary and he gave me a few tips.... i will have to wait to see if these work out or not but for now this session was a blank.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

River Kennet Quest part 4

This follows the trail and trials on my quest to catch big fish from a small part of the river using float tacfics only.
The sessions were 2 hrs long - first 2 hrs and last two hours of the day.
Tues evening :
Result : 1 chublet, 1 roach - both on bread on a size 10 hook.
Remarks: got both fish from the car park swim, the weather was terrible - it rained all night - lots of plucks - loads of small fish in the swim - they couldn’t take the size 10 confidently though to get a sail away bite,
Weds morn :
Result : 2 bream(one 2.5lb+ and the other 3lb+) , 1 roach approx 12oz and 1 gudgeon.
Remarks : the weather was fine and I expected more from the town centre swim, got the smaller bream and the roach there, the bigger bream was a surprise on the first cast in the car park swim - lots of plucks on both swims - just thought that the bigger chub were not about - couldn’t get the floating bread working in the TC swim because there was too many ducks/swans.
Weds evening:
Result : 1 chublet, 1 dace
Remarks : fished the car park swim for the 2 hrs - to get to other swims I have to pass through the cricket pitch and there was a game on. Lots of plucks/quick bites from the offset but I couldn’t hook them, decided to swap to a 16 with 30 mins to go and hit the dace - which was about 6 oz so a nice surprise - no big fish though and I swapped from large breadflake to very small to see if it could induce a more postive bite from either big or small fish. Think maggotts would have hammered this swim but I was hoping for the bigger fish

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Why Blackleach???

Why is it called Blackleach - I have always wondered ? Was it to do with the surname of any of the previous landowners - as with Phillips Park in Whitefield(where the Irwell runs near by), or is it to do with these little critters - I found one while walking back to the car after a morning pike fishing last Sunday.
A classic catch making its way across the path away from the Res, - looked a full blighter - like it had just fed….
Anyway dad caught a few perch, 2 other anglers on the lake both into perch - I lost a pike on sink/draw lamprey - it was only a jack about 7lb.
Another light hearted report when really I am gutted at blanking on two pike rods with my dad on float and alarm.
I will keep trying - rumour has it one of the other anglers (a Dutch lad I think) got into a good tench once I had left (conspiracy - even the tench don’t feed when I am on-site).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kennet - quest for specimens part3

I am getting a little obsessed by this trickle section near the town centre - again i did 2 hrs Tues night / 2 weds morn - this time i fixed the last tip on my old Tricast Kevlar light feeder to give me more chance holding onto any beastie than the make-shift telescopic would - but fair to say when this was my only rod 5-7 years ago i lost big barbel on the Dane cos the rod had no backbone - it could handle 7lbers on a very good day.

Tues night - targeted the car park swim near the sports ground where i had the 3lb 6oz chub - i had lots of plucks on the bread but the fish were not having it - i then brought in a signal crayfish and that made my mind up to shallow up further to avoid them - found 30 mags at the bottom of my bait bag so put a couple on and had a big gudgeon and 2 roach in successive cast after plugging away for 40 mins with the constant plucks.
Moved onto the another swim had a couple of bites but no joy and then finished in the gravel swin where i had the 2lb+ trout - i put worm on just in case but just had 1 chublet to show for 30 mins of effort.

Weds morn - i went straight to the town centre swims - started at the railings where i had a roach first case and then lots of plucks, half bites - decided to change to the cafe swim where i had the bream/chub the week before.
second cast on bread and i was in - decent chub between 2-3lb - got it to the surface and "hook pull", i kept plugging away - lots of pulls - then i saw a few big splashes where fish attacked the bread i fed that didnt sink - i kept watching with intent - i let my float fished bread run through to the end of the swim and i was in again - this time a bream - they must pick up the collection of bait once it settles right at the end of the swim - anyway it was around the 3lb mark and i got it right to the net and on its last thrust for freedon the hook pulled again.

i then fed crust and watched chub attack it - I remember watching Matt Hayes fish this way and thought "one day" - that day was here - on went the crust and after a few runs a big splash and i was in - this felt good - i was some 20 yards downstream so thought there was enough mono to strecth and absorb any lunges - i had the reel set for my dad (left handed) so i have to swap over post strike to be able to reel - just as i did that there was one almighty lunge (it would have took the rod in if i wasnt holding tightly) - at this point the tip was in the water and snap - 5lb mainline straight through went above the float... damn, damn double damn - note to self - change over reel handle and maybe not loose a fish of a lifetime.
It could have been a pike grapping the chub or a really big chub but we will never know.

Went to the Car park swim to finish off - only had worm left so trotted one cut in half - had a few bits and ended with a perch of about 1lb.

ended up with 9 fish over the sessions and a bruised ego.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bad weather - bad session

I thought with the weather being so bad i would sit behind alarms at Blackleach hoping for some action.

I braved the elements for over 4 hours with only a 2 bleeper on my worm rod fished just past a weed patch at 50yards.

My dad on the float had a few fast bites - he hit the last one to take 1 perch which was less than an ounce it was that tiny.

I spoke to another bloke on the way to the car and he said he had been taking a single fish every session from 6-8lb and today he was smashed on the float with 5lb hooklink.

Still a hard water i will keep trying to tame.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More Kennet fish

I did another session on the Kennet at Newbury town centre - 1.5hrs Tues night / 2 hrs Weds morning.
Tuesday night : 8.15pm to 9.45pm - fished with my dodgy telescopic rod/ 5lb line /size 14 animal and bread on the hook,
Second trot through and while I was mending the line and holding back the float a chub shot out of nowhere in 12 inches of water and nailed the bread. It ran me 20 yrds downtstream in an instant - my line wrapped around an overhanging tree - damn.. If I wanted the fish I had to free the line… so in I went nudging my way down the inside of the bank in 4inches of water and as much of mud…. I got to the tree, climbed on to it and freed the line then realised I needed the landing net!!!
I could get through via the bank so again bail arm off and a quick march meant I had the landing net… played the fish hard and got it in yesssssssssss… just soggy boots and nettle stings for my troubles.
A lovely chub of 3lb 6oz - spent 30 mins playing this fish while trying to get it out of the tree so I was relieved to see it in the net.
I managed a chublet and roach missing a few bites at other pegs - each peg definately holding some fish,
Weds morning - 5.45am to 7.45am - went to town centre swim, had loads of bites by chublets, dace and roach but my attack was for the bigger chub and as such the breadflake was too big…thus lots of plucks at the bread.
Moved to the swim next to the cafĂ©… within a minute I was holding onto a decent chub and then it went slack… the hook had come off (poorly tied - one I put on at last knockings the night before), a few casts later and I was in again - this time I saw the fish turn, a definate chub of a good size… it then got me snagged in the middle of the river (how does it shed the hook onto the nearest large sunken tree I don’t know) - I had to pull for a break - damn would have been a nice one to see,
I kept going and had a few bits - then I let it trot through to the end of the run and whack I was in… bit of a dull fight thought it was a snag and then….. no it’s a bream….

Got it in and it weighed 3lb 11oz - had a few roach chublets and perch on worm in other pegs,
All in all 12 fish - they may not be the big chub and barbel of further downstream but how can you complain when it free fishing!!!!.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Little rivers dont mean little fish

I took the opportunity to try the free fishing stretch behind Newbury town centre. Armed with a bodged telescopic rod (I broke the top section so I araldited a quiver tip to it) I got to the river at 8.30pm after work.
I had to go for a run first - part of my exercise campaign with a "no pleasure unless I've had pain" attack I got the run over with asap so I could hit the river.
Freelinning a breadflake feeding mashed bread/hemp into a foot of water - first swim was inactive - the whole water looks like it doesn’t hold fish and only 6 inches deep in part - my mate rang me for 20 mins so I moved swims and baited up several times while I was on the call.
First cast - whack…… definatly a trout - it was only then I realised the drop from the bank was about 4ft and I only brought a self made cut down tele pole that goes from 1 to 2 ft.
By now the trout had me all over the place - a fish of about 2.5lb - bigger than my pb - I got it right to the waters edge and on the rim of my outstretched landing night when the hook pulled - damn….. Excellent catch and release skills but no pb or photo to show.
Now I could wait to get on the next morning……
I hit the town centre swim where I saw a 2lb+ chub the week before - I trickled in some bread flake and to my surprise 2 chub attacked it - both in the 2lb bracket - so I kept feeding bits and the dace/chublets were feeding too - then the swans moved over before I could wet a line and the fish disapeared - I managed to wait and get a dace on bread before moving 20 yeards downstream around a bend - next time I will cast a line from the offset.
After a couple of casts I was in to something stronger, stronger than my weak makeshift tip anyway (which I will have to replace) - at the same time a tramp was looking into my bag filled with bait and bits(at 6am in the morning?) - "eh mate that’s my gear get off" was the shout as I was playing this fish - I managed to stretch and slip the net under a 2lb+ chub and still keep my bait bag!!!!
I then tried another couple of swims and managed another chub of about 1lb.
All in all - small rivers do have decent fish - I cant wait until next week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

hit n miss weekend

not much to report

fished the Irwell broughton for 2hrs with my dad - same spot as last time same tactics not one bite.....

where did all the fish go!!!! assume they spawn here and move out over the course of the month

so unless reports suggest any change i may have to wait until winter to expoit the fish here.

Next session Blackleach - 2.5 hrs with my dad moving between swims fishing feeder and float between us - no tench but lots of bubbles in 2 swims and a few very quick bites - i expect these are the few crucians in the water - its difficult to hit the bites with a set up presented for tench..

next session - fishing a trickle of a river in Newbury

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Does the Irwell Barbel exist??????

Look at this beastie - it does!!!

I have heard stories about fish existing and I have also spoke to an angler who told me he had taken 40 fish a season minmium for the last 4-5 seasons - this was a couple of years back - he did say it was getting harder and harder to get into them.
I do wish this is true but having fished, read about and walked the stretches I have yet to find many other people who have found them - maybe it’s the best kept secret or they are really few and far between.
The picture is from the Angling Times march edition 11lb beast reported - sorry about the picture - found it crumbled up ready to be binned by my wife.
So for die hards like Manchesterfishingfiend the search can continue for now!!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

What a difference a week makes....

I went to the Irwell again last Sunday evening for a few hours - i was going on holiday on the Monday so i didnt have a pass for anything more.
Usual tactics, one rod on float and one on feeder shared and alternated with my Dad - i always take old kit with me just in case you have to fight your way out... Not for the fainthearted!!!
Sunday fishing was great - fish every other chuck on the float upto 12oz's and the odd bite on the feeder.... we had over 30 fish but i had hoped for one of the big chub/carp to put in an appearance.

We went again on Sunday morning for 2-3 hours, same spot, same tactics - nothing...........
we did get 2 bites on bread / feeder and worm/float - but nothing to the trotting maggott tactic of the week before.

The fish were showing some 300 yards downstream but it was hard to fish these spots -especially as my dad needs firm footings.

Its the first time i have fished in a morning here so maybe its not a key feeding period?

I will be back next w/e unless i can convince my dad to have one more attack on the Blackleach tench.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Barbel fever..........

I finally made the text to a mate of mine who was based in the Army at Camberley - i worked in Guildford/Basingstoke and i didnt realise he was based in-between - he advised me he was moving so it was now or never - so we agreed to meet up for a 2 hr session on Weds night.

We pulled up to the river and Geoff pointed out barbel feeding under a tree - what a sight - you dont get to see 9lbers do this in the North.

This was a stalking session with a difference - we had to crawl on all fours to keep off the skyline - Geoff loves the stalking and takes this very seriously so on my front commando style we crept about.

We identified 2 fishable swims - but we only could fish 1 rod between us - get a fish and move swims - first cast was to me - almost instantly i missed a quick pull wrong - then again - definatly chub was the culprit - third time lucky and yes i was in ...... a quick hard fight and a 3lb chub was in my net.

Geoff's go.... we waited 20mins for the swim to settle and again a lead with luncheon meat was cast into 12 inches of water and made it s way under the tree - then wack the rod went round - this was no chub.... but Geoff missed it.

Then another cast and tip round - fish on, double bend in the rod and then slack...

the line snapped - like cotton.. 8lb diawa sensor - Geoff wasnt happy "get my rod we will use some proper line 20lb braid".

I felt bad... we tackled up again and moved to the bridge swim - it was 10mins and round the tip went.... a farmer giles strike saw me in the trees with no fish damn....

then geoff's go - we went back to the chub catch swim - but no joy - time was getting on and so we went back to the bridge swim - Geoff cast in a halibut pellett - then whack - barbel on....

A quick fight saw the fish go into the net - Geoff though didnt want me to lift up the net for fear of breaking the pole - so i suggested we swap over - in the exchage Geoff managed to dip the net into the water and away was the barbel - this time i was playing it.....

10 mins later it was in the net - but Geoff go the photo he deserved a lovely fish between 7-8lb.

We had chance for 1 more cast - the tip went round - i was in then it went slack - hook pull -- oh well.....

A great experience and one i look forward to doing again

Thanks Geoff for a session to remember.....

Still waiting for my first Barbel for years ..... i look forward to the Wye,,,,

Thursday, June 25, 2009

on the Irwell again

I took my 5 year old grandson for a short session on Mon night - weather was great and fish were accomodating.My grandson Christopher is a very enthusiastic boy but with little attention span - so i was hoping for a good start - and the river didnt disapoint.

first cast a roach, followed by a number of bites....Chris decided he wanted to play in the water with the stones and the fishing died off somewhat - but we ended up with 3 roach one of about 12oz and a smile on our faces.Tues i went with my dad - just after the terribe downpour - dad couldnt buy a bite on maggotts - i had 2 on bread but missed them - river was running through by now due to the access water - not ideal at all.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A surprise on the Irwell

Well after reading Manchesterfishingfiends latest blogs on the Irwell I decided I would explore more swims around the area he fishes. Luckily for me I bumped into a neighbour who is a keen fisherman and dog walker and covers the area mentioned in the blog, So thanks to him I had locations and parking all sorted out,
My Sunday trip should have been on Blackleach but my dad was ill so I managed a couple of hours on the Irwell

30mins in and I was disturbed by a dozen teenagers who wore Nazi uniforms and were drunk (or high) and singing / throwing stones in the river. After reading Manchesterfishingfiends latest post i can relate to situations where the yobs that have kept me off this river - i like peace and quiet and have been pelted with stones from the bridge behind Clifton Marina.

On this occiasion while it annoyed me at first to be honest they didn’t directly disturb me or my swim - and the bites never stopped.

It was a great session with roach to 12 oz and the odd chub - I had a bite every 3 runs - took about 10 fish - I don’t think the river was in prolific form but I did make best of it.
I cant wait to give it another go….

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Season on the Irwell

The New season and I am chomping at the bit to get on the river even for a couple of hours - after work my dad and I headed to the Irwell and we decided to have some fun seeing what was about.

The feeder rod didn’t produce a sniff on meat but on worm we missed a number of takes from the minnows (more like didn’t see anything but the worm was trashed).
On the float road in 1-2 feet of water was great - we tried to wade through the minnows to get to the other fish - and we did, my mate Chris showing off the catches of Gudgeon and Chublet - but no trout….. I didn’t expect any decent chub or barbel.

But good fun for a couple of hours - fish not the quality of ManchesterFishingfiends stretch but nevertheless I will do it again - but I wont be wearing shorts…. I got nettled to death….

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

tench pb broken!!!

PB broken at last
But unfortunately not mine,
Another session chasing the big tench at Blackleach led me to bait up my favourite swim 24hrs before the 4.5hrs session with 30 balls of vitalin/pellet/corn. I purposely didn’t put any bait in my dad's swim just in case this approach killed it.
Usual tactics for me with my dad feeder fishing with red maggot.
I had a couple of liners but nothing on meat/halibut pellet - my dad though missed a good bite (hook pulled off - oops sorry dad for not tying it properly) and the second bite he was in - a great fight on 6lb main line meant he had to play it well and couldn’t bully it too much.
He did just that and pic shows a new pb of 5lb 10oz - well done dad.

My day will come……….
Until then enjoy the reading - I'll enjoy the trying!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thats why its fishing not catching - on the quest for big tench

I had no late night, early morning meetings planned this week in Basingstoke/Guildford so I decided to take my gear and hit Wylies lake in Thatcham for 3 short sessions to go for the big tench - the target to try and beat my average of a single catch and also my pb of 7.15oz.
The aim was to try and fish the same peg for the 3 sessions using two lines, one method feeder on alarm at 25 yrds were the fish show quite often, the second to floatfish in the margins to the right.
Bait would be bacon grill/halibut pellet on the method and bacon grill / bunch of red mags/casters on the float which will be fished slider style with a stop not marking the depth (which is around 10ft+) - I expected to get near 9 hrs fishing over the 3 sessions.

Session 1 : Tues evening - weather was part cloudy but the sun was shining - activity on the water was at a minimum - I put out 6 balls of vitalin/pellett etc on the method and 6 pouches of hemp / meat/pellet on the float and then continually fed as and when.
Result : I had a few liners on the method rod with single bleeps, but on the float I had 3 bites, all on red maggs/caster cocktail - 1 though was more of a drag under and I believed this to be a liner. With the last bite I hit a small perch - which led me to believe the 1st one may not have been a tench - so for the rest of the session I put bacon grill back on but there was no further action.

Session 2 : Weds evening - decided it was more important than watching England so attacked the lake in the same way as the night before - it was slightly overcast and there was more fish topping - I had a more confident feeling.
Result : Liners on the method from the start - after 1 hour I had a double bleeper which I hit and missed / the bacon grill was gone - liners continued with a couple of" two bleepers" which I left to develop so didn’t hit - with 1 hour left the action hotted up - first the float buried on the meat - I hit into the fish - a definate tench but after a second the line went slack - lost the fish to a hook pull. This is when the method/alarm rod sprang to life with constant liners resulting in two good takes - not one toners but more than 2 bleeps - the feeding was tentative so I struck at everything I could - the first went at the same time as the float rod buried - which do I go to - the hestitation for a split second meant I missed both - damn…. Then second strikable run just before the end of the session was when my wife rang - and as I was talking the alarm screamed - a real bite - I lifted, wound the baitrunner off and struck…… but again nothing.
My thoughts at the end of the session was one of wasted opportunity - if they allowed fishing into dark I know I would have been on the fish but I am one for following rules…. Also to note that the hair rig on the method was around half an inch long… did I need to shorted this right up to the hook shank . Note fornext session!!!!

Session 3 : Thurs morning - weather was very bright not ideal at all - I changed the hair rig length and cast out same again.
Result : Liners on the method for the first 2 hrs but nothing on the float - just when the session was petering put bleep,bleep bleep - I hit into the run - but again nothing……..what is going on..
I examined my rig and then realised that maybe the takes were from the bream - with a long hair and a 10inch tail on the hooklink from the method feeder - maybe the tentative bream bites - they had time to such in and have a few inches to spit out giving only a slight indication - I should have shortened the hooklength!!!!
You live and learn - I need to do this in order to put fish on the bank

Monday, June 8, 2009

Blankleach vs Mancspurs

The Sunday morning weather had significantly improved from Saturday however I had found myself rising late from my pit and not getting to the bank until 6.15am. I still fancied my chances so out went a method on the alarm and a black cap feeder full of red maggots these went to both spots that were pre-baited. The 3rd rod was cast around the lake and had a bunch of worms and a 40g blackcap filled with red mags.

The lake looked good but I had not received any indications - the two lads opposite had taken a tench each on the float - but alas I had not had a snifff.
My dad made a cardinal sin - he left his feeder rod while he talked to a regular - he was only six foot away when the rod (my rod actually) was wrenched round at such a force that if his seat wasn’t in the way the rod/reel would have gone to a watery grave.
I managed to grab the rod but there was no tench - upon inspection he had a bite off - clearly cut just about the hook baited with 6 red mags - I have only ever heard of this with carp but I guess tench have pharyngeal teeth as well. He did miss another bite on red maggot but after 3 .5 biteless hours I went home to paint.

When I got home my misses didn’t want the mess of painting and furthermore wanted a quite afternoon which meant me out of the house - what luck,,.,,,
Off I went back to blackleach for a 4 hr session - same tactics and spots as the morning session 2 rods with meat/pellet/red maggots on the hook.
But no fish…..
I talked to the bailiff who glady took my £3 day ticket - he told me a couple of specimen guys had been on 2 pegs down from me a few days earlier and they had spent the best part of a week baiting up with gallons of bait prior to fishing - they had over 100lb of tench with the biggest 10.03oz - he said he had to tell them that keepnets were not allowed close season - that’s why he got to see the fish. That is very promising… but he then said a big pike had took a small terrier the week before……….what can you believe?
So all in all - maybe the fill it in approach is the way to get on the fish - maybe then lads beating me to this a few days earlier made my approach somewhat a little futile and I like all other anglers on the lake had a chance of the odd tench as they patrolled through - suffice to say my dad had that chance with the two bites.
Blankleach 3 Mike 0
But I will be back - I don’t know when I am beaten and I am desperate for a multiple catch and to beat my pb.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Blackleach or Blankleach - the saga continues

Thanks to Manchesterfishingfiend who put the pressure on by saying if i didnt get a tench on my next visit i would have to call it Blankleach!!!
I did promise my dad a session bit bashing but with the weather so bad today i would expect all fishing to suffer so why not give Blackleach another go.

They say you only get out what you put in....... well if that is true then i should be on for a fish or two. True to form i put together 20 balls of vitalin, hemp, crumb, corn, various halibut sizes and left over meat and off i was to walk the dog around the lake in terrible weather to pre-bait for a Sunday morning session.

I chose a swim with shelter but while i was getting the groundbait ready a family of swans wanted to pitch up where i was standing and it was stand-off time - my god they are big when they stand up and hiss at you.

Anyway i was forced to move to a swim around the corner and prebaited the swim which i had a run in last week - 10 balls in each swim.

Will it make any difference - will the drop in temp from earlier in the week kill any chance i have of baggin a specimen - or now the temp has dropped will this kick start the fish to feed? Will the prebait help, will it pull the tench in to use these spots on its patrol routes or will it kill the fishing..

Well i will take a postive approach on 2 rods and cast to different spots on the 3rd.

Will i do it or will it go down as bad day on Blankleach.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tenching & the North / South divide

What is it about the North/South divide ?
In fishing terms its always claimed its far more productive in the South - my latest Blackleach challenge would provide testement to that!!!.

In the week I work in Basingstoke/Newbury - Newbury is a lovely place with lots to offer the angler.

I am a member of Reading DAA and focus my efforts for the tench at Wylies lake Thatcham(it borders Newbury) - it’s a mature and deep lake that fishes well in the margins. It holds the odd big carp, shoals of big bream and fishes well for silvers at certain times of the year. The Pic is of my dad at the lake waiting for action!!!

I think Wylies is to Newbury what Blackleach is to Salford - a difficult water that holds big tench - its never packed as most anglers only get the odd tench and want lots of fish, but for a wanabe specimen hunter its ideal.

Again my fishing is a few hours before and after work - so I would say I do 6-8hrs a week on this water - results? I normally get 1 fish a session and a few bites, the silvers don’t show until end of June onwards so I am confident its tench or carp/bream.
I usually fish 2 rods, a float and a method feeder, early season bread scores well but at the moment meat wins all hands down - I have included some pics of fish I have had to 6.4lb - but other anglers are getting them to 7.5lb - with many reporting upto 9lbers.

I wont move onto the rivers until July so that’s a few more weeks targeting a tench - my mission to beat my pb of 7ib 15oz.

Or cry trying!!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Beaten by Blackleach (again)

Another 4.30am start, enthusiasm and optimism running high and a level of expectation fills the car as I leave with my dad to drive the 5 miles to Blackleach.
Corn/meat/pellet and hemp - method feeder on alarms - all set to go - we even changed the peg to pick one slightly further round the lake where I have had tench from before.
One rod cast 30yrds in 8-10ft of water, the second 40-45yrds out and the third(my dads) was on the float 15yrds out in 8 ft of water.
The first 2 hrs was slow, grebes and coots in abundance but no surface activity from the fish - an old boy came round and talked to us - a fisherman who stays away from this water but walks round daily - his views were that it is fishing slow and the catch rate has gone down over the last few years - this is consistent to my views but what I need is catching advice right now - he gave it "fish Gorse Pit instead".
A little while later another regular talker came round to join us and described what he had seen of late - a few good tench all in 1 and 2's but no bag ups - there was still no silvers showing. The second guy is a keen predator angler and has fished this water for years but only bothers with the pike and eels.
He again told us stories of his 30lber and a 6lb eel - something I do believe as I saw a 4lb+ dead one the day after he had told me he caught and released one at that weight.
Still no action - so a rebait was required - I kept doing this every 45mins.
After nearly 4 hrs and just as I was thinking of packing up - I got a run - it never tore off - just 4or5 bleeps but enough to strike at - I bent into the strike on the rod at 30 yrds which I had fished meat over soft pellet on a method feeder - but nothing - I was gutted.
There were 2 other guys on the water - one had gone after 2 hrs - I spoke to the second as I walked back to the car - he missed one take and had a 6lb pike on double red maggot - but no silvers.
I think my all out tench approach may need re-thinking - its obvious they are there meandering around - but not in big enough numbers to be anything significant in catch rate terms and all the other fish occupy the opposite side of the lake where the silt bed is - for the moment anyway - the bream don’t really move unless spawning but the silvers do come out and play and to get 20 fish in 4hrs is common once they go for it.
So what should I do?
Is it a sit on the water for all hours and take what I can, or put in 10kg of vitalin etc and fish a couple of days later or build up a small amount of feed in one clear spot and hope and wait.
The conundrum continues - what is for sure - I was beaten by Blackleach yet again

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bank Holiday Blanking on Blackleach

I think it was Martin Bowler of AT that said a blank was all part of the journey to the next good catch (or something like that) - well after this weekend i have mixed feelings on this!!!
For those who dont fish BLACKLEACH its situated in Walkden just off Hilltop road - the country park has lots of dog walkers etc - the fishing itself is restricted to the pegs - the non fishing area is the conservation area - which is where the wildlife congregate - its also a silty area so the Carp and bream spend most of their lives there - only the nomadic tench and silvers get about the lake.

There are some real whackers reported: pike to 30lb, tench 12lb, i have seen bream to 7lb in big shoals, perch to 4lb roach 2lb+ and eels to 6lb (i did see a dead oen about 4lb).

Saturday on Blackleach
Another 4 hours at 5.30am resulted in no tench (was gonna be a 6 hr trip but cut it short to get back early for browny points) - got to Blackleach in my favourite swim and set up 2 rods on the method / alarms, made about 6 casts in each peg with a combo of vitalin, scalded halibut, corn and crumb.

Made sure i wasnt on the weed and kept it as accurate as possible - my dad was on the float in about 10ft of water some 20 yrds out - feeding corn/bread and hemp,

All angles covered i thought.

I got a few bleeps on the alarm - probably liners - good to see some fish moving but not near my bait.
I took a walk to see other fishermen (8 in total a blackleach record) - one guy i would call a "pleasure angler" - no fancy gear - feeder rod in the air as if he was fishing a river and feeding groundbait/caster - he had missed a wrencher of a bite- i spoke to him for 10 mins sharing experiences and he showed me a couple of fish he caught the day the before on his camera and said his pb at Blackleach was 11lber.

Until that conversation again i thought i was beaten by Blackleach - but this just spurred me on - fishing what a leveller - just when you thing you know a place and in this case a hard water that never throws out too many tench but they are big!!! then.... you talk to a guy who gets results without doing anything more than you are doing - hows that for an incentive....

So was it just a bad day for feeding, was i in the wrong peg (doesnt matter how good you are if fish are not feeding in front of you) or was i using the wrong tactics? the exploration continues

but for now i thought i would share with you some of the catches i have had on this water.

pls keep the comments coming
until next time

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hello and Welcome to my Blogsite - as this is my first ever blog i thought i would tell you more about my fishing exploits and the kind of things to expect in the future.

I have fished since i was a kid but only took up the sport seriously since my early 30's (now 37) when i hung up my football boots.

I would describe myself as a wanabe specimen hunter (but i am not into carp at the moment anyway) - but as i only ever fish in 3-4 hour windows my chance of maximising my big fish catches is somewhat reduced - but god loves a trier.

And to compound things even more i tend to choose to fish more difficult waters - over the next few blogs i will share with you my experiences on some of the local waters in the Manchester area, Bridgewater Canal, Blackleach Res, Salford Quays, River Irwell.

As my job takes me around the UK from time to time i will also share my exploits from on the road - at present i am working around Newbury so i have a Reading DAA card.

I am not sure what drives me to get up a 4am - some say its the hunter gatherer instinct or maybe its the chess game of finding the right swin, tactics and bait or is it just a case of enjoying the surroundings in peace - or all of these.

I like to fish on the float, feeder and alarms but not really tried fly fishing - i would say lure fishing has definately grown on me over the last six months and a few hours after pike/perch has certainly been a plus point on the Kennet & Avon Canal where i have had perch to 3lb.

I am certainly not an expert - but always in search of more knowledge and i dont mind working for it.

My PB list is nothing special and i certainly dont empty places - i guess i have had "normal" results but the search for red letter days drives me on but my enthusiasm outways my ability (or luck).

This drives me on to get out of bed and brave the rain, wind and cold - in search of the golden nugget.

I look forward to blogging and i am happy to share tips etc (even if it is via personal email).