Saturday, 12 January 2019

SMALL RIVER ROVING



With Christmas out of the way and copious amounts of food consumed i needed to get out in the fresh air and stretch my legs so of down the local tackle shop i went and came out with a couple pints of maggots and a box of lobworms. A good few years ago i had a little explorative walk along a small river 15 or so miles away from me, as i had heard a couple of chub had been caught, and thought it would be worth a try at some point but had never really got round to it. Well i had an itch to roam a river and seeing as the River Chelmer is such a shadow of its former self a new venue was needed, and seeing as i didn,t have the time to venture upto Peterborough and fish the River Nene this tiny little water would be my chosen venue.

 I arrived on the banks at first light after a short walk and set up a chubber float to fish a tiny little weir pool, of off the main river, which fed a tiny stream which ran through a nearby golf coarse. First trot down and the float sinks away and i,m into a nice roach, happy days. Countless cast produced countless roach and small perch to my float fished maggots, i was a happy bunny but it was time to move on and try my luck for something a bit bigger. Big perch and hopefully a chub were firmly in my mind.

A short walk along the river and i came across a nice looking fallen tree which screamed perch so i set up a link ledger and settled in above the fallen tree, slid a nice fat lobworm on the hook and flicked it out to the opposite bank close to some reeds. Just as the rig was about to land in the water a small silver fish flicked out of the water a couple feet away from my bait, a good omen i thought. I,d only just tightened down and set a slight bend in my rod tip when it rattled away and i struck into a fish. Only a small perch but i was happy that my swim choice had been good, after all i,m really not a river angler more of a stillwater kind of guy. On went another lobworm, out went the cast and on went the kettle. With a latte in hand i was happy, looking around at the local wildlife and revelling in how quiet it was as the low hanging mist stayed for most of the day. As i was daydreaming the rod tip pulled and after spilling my cuppa down my leg i struck into a bigger perch of around half a pound. This little tyke put up quite a scrap before being netted so i opted to fish the down stream side of the tree to rest the area i had already fished. First cast against some reeds just out of the main flow and i had a very quick heavy pull down which resulted in me getting snagged up. It was shame as i had felt a couple of heavy thumps as i picked the rod up. A quick re-tackle and dropped another juicy lobworm in against some over hanging branches a little further downstream. After a couple of minutes the rod tip pulled down and i was attached to something pretty powerful and very angry. After a spirited fight in the stronger current up popped a cracking perch of around 2lb with dorsal bristling in defiance, i was now a really happy bunny. My aim had been to see if there was any decent perch in this tiny river and my hunch had paid off. I could of packed up there and then but i wanted to try my luck see if i could tempt a chub as well.





After a couple of pictures i packed up my tackle and walked another half mile or so up river to what looked like a chubby looking area where the current run across to the opposite side of the river leaving a nice long near bank slack which ran along some nice reeds, perfect thought i. In goes another juicy lobworm and straight away i started to get little plucks on the rod tip. Small fish thought i, but every now and then there was a bigger pulldown which had me striking at mid air. This kept going on for 15 minutes before i had an odd little quiver on the tip followed by a couple small pull downs which i stuck at and was rewarded with a heavy thump as whatever i was connected to did its best to snag me in the nearby reeds. Initially i thought i,d hooked into a good sized perch as i didn,t really think i,d actually catch a chub. Imagine my surprise after a minute or so of give and take when a big pair of white lips appeared beneath my rod tip followed by the body of a good 3 lb chub. After another short tussle i slid the net under my prize and released a sigh of relief. I couldn't weigh the chub as the battery was flat in my scales, schoolboy error i hadn,t checked it when sorting out my kit, but my guesstimate was 3-3.5lb. A beautiful looking fish it was too and after a couple of pictures i slid her back into her watery home. I was now walking on air. I fished another few areas with just a few plucks on the rod tip but caught nothing else, not that i cared.

Overall my hunch about this little river, you could jump from one bank to another in some areas, containing some decent perch worked out and actually catching a chub, a good one at that, really put the icing on the cake. I will return to see what else i might be able to winkle out from this tiny waterway but to be honest i,m not actually that bothered as i,m more than chuffed with what i have already caught.

Monday, 7 January 2019

DOGGIES........

End of November i had a week of work to do some work around the house and as the weather was due to be mild, for this time of year anyway, i thought it would be a good idea to have a mornings fishing on my local River Crouch for the whiting that reports had said were there in numbers. And i thought it would also be good to take my pooches along for the session as they love it down there. After dropping the other half at the train station first thing i drove the 5 minutes it takes from my house to Fambridge with tackle and dogs in the back of the van ready for our little adventure. Loaded up with my gear and two nutcase dogs running amock in front of me i trudged the 2 miles, yes my chosen area was

2 flipping miles from the van,  to a nice bend in the river which narrowed the river quite a bit and also had deep water at the bottom of the wall. i,d walked the dogs to this area a few weeks previously when the tide was out and it scream fish as the river narrows up considerably at this point as it bends slightly, and also theres a big shallow bay type area to the left which also looks good for a bite during the summer. Out with the rods and on with the kettle and it wash,t long before my right hand rod started to knock. Leaping up to the rod it was rattling away like a goodun by now and a switch strike and couple of steps backward had me connecting with something fish like thumping away at the end of the line. 
It had a bit of weight to it so my thoughts were either a good size whiting or possibly a sea unicorn, cod to those not in the know, but i wash,t expecting a writhing dogfish 'Doggie' thrashing away on the surface. I was really happy with this catch as although i,ve caught hundreds of dogfish of off boats when i used to boatfish a lot back when i was younger, i had only ever caught 1 doggie from the shore and that was further up the River Crouch at Wallasea Island. Rebait and a recast and the other rod was rattling away now as tightened down to the lead of the recast one. Same procedure, strike walk back a couple steps and reel down to feel for some weight, and i was into another fish. Low and behold in comes another dogfish, i could,t believe it. Over the next hour i had rattles on my rods regularly with a few more dogfish being landed. High water saw the bites stop for an hour or so, i,ve often found this anyway, before action resumed with more doggies chewing on my worm and squid baits. Action slowed so after another hour i packed up and made the long walk back to the van.

In total i had 9 dogfish, if i remember rightly, and had at least twice as many bites. I was really surprised that no other fish were landed, maybe the pack of dogfish that was in front of me had scared them off. All in all i had a great session, as did Paddy and Choccie, and also had a seal follow us as we were walking to the spot. It an amazing area along the River Crouch and i intend to explore more of it with rods pooches over the coming year........

CATCH UP

 So since my last post not a lot has happened on the fishing front unfortunately. I have managed a few early morning 'before breakfast' trips in search of pike to a local and have blanked twice and managed a couple small jacks on a third trip. Its strange as the conditions seemed bang for all of these trips but the pike have had other ideas. Ive fished this water on and off for over 15 years and have caught on nearly every trip, even if it was just a small jack, but since trying back there over the past couple years i have been struggling. The only thing that i can think of that is different is that i used to fish late afternoons to last light instead of the first light sessions i do now. I reckon i,ll switch back to the afternoons and see if that will help me catch more than i have been. I know of a good few areas which i have pike in the past which i have been fishing again so maybe switching to the afternoons is the answer. I,ll keep you informed on how i get on.


 Although i,ve struggled catching pike on my local the couple i have had, and the odd aborted take, have come to my good old favourite technique of drifting a deadbait long the wind lines and into likely looking areas. The way i do this is to set the float at roughly half to three quarters of the waters depth and put on as light a lead as you can get away with to cock your chosen float with your chosen deadbait. I then hook my bait so it hangs roughly horizontally, slightly head down i favour, in the water so it looks a little like a slow moving injured fish. I personally like using coarse deads, pierced to release more juices, for this to 'match the hatch' so to speak, but i,ve had good success with smelt as well. Its not the best casting technique but plenty good enough for 30 yards or so. When the wind is putting a good chop on the water is best as it jerks the bait up and down as the float rides the waves. Its my go to method nowadays.


Staying on the pike fishing theme, i had a day chasing Esox on the big water mid November, my first pike trip there and what bagrueller it turned out to be. I arrived before first light, as i like to do, in my chosen section of this behemoth of a water and took the long walk to the first area to try. This was at the entrance to a bay area where a small point jutted out into the water so i could cast into the entrance to the bay to my right and out into open water in front and to the left of me. As the sun was coming up the open water was alive with silver fish dimpling and splashing as well as some bigger fish 'rolling', possibly bream or big roach, and my expectations were high as the pike had to be close by to all this activity. After a little marker float work i found out it was a gentle slop from margin to deeper water with a little drop of 15 yards or so out. Soon as i could i had a ledgered deadbait cast as far as possible towards the fish activity, which was slowly moving further away from me, another rod  with same technique was flicked to the right along the slight drop and the third rod was set up as a drifter as the wind was blowing over my shoulder away from me, perfect. Well i fished hard here until midday using everything in my arsenal to catch a fish but to no avail, i did have a little run on my rod cast 



 to the right but there was no teeth marks in the bait and there was a lot of grebes around so maybe one of them had grabbed it. I moved further along the bank, i say further but should say a lot further as it was over a mile trudge with all my kit, and fish the mouth of another bay for a few hours but again had no joy. The wind was stronger here and was great for drifter fishing but no pike wanted to play ball. An hour or so before sun set i made the long walk back to fish in the bay nearest to the van for the final light. And boy was it a long walk. As the sun was slowly going down and the bay started to get pretty dark as it is surrounded by trees one of my alarms burst in to life making me jump and spill my coffee. Unfortunately whatever had picked up my bait had also dropped it without the hooks taking hold. Bait checked and re-cast to the same area and just as i was clipping up the drop off my other alarm sounded. being on top of the rods this time i watched as a slow trickle of line run through the rings before i picked up the rod and struck into mid air, Bollix. Well i fished until it was too dark to see before walking back to the van and setting of for home.

It was a cracking trip on such an amazing water but the conditions were against me as it was very bright and sunny which has never bode well for me. As with all trips though i learnt a little more about the water and hopefully i,ll be back there soon chasing the toothy critters. One thing is for sure even if i don't catch anything fishing here it should keep me fit doing so as i,d walk just under 6 miles in search of fish while i was there........