Bream, A Day Of Doubles

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This entry is all about, what is for me, a session of a lifetime. But let’s quickly run through the lead up to that and what was the annual post pike season blues. It’s a hard time of year when it’s too late for pike but too early for my spring targets, which are usually tench and bream. With those species causing me headaches, I ended up digging out the carp gear and went for a couple of sessions on a local pool.

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Both sessions were cold, with a hard frost in the mornings but thankfully that didn’t stop the action, which was steady with something like 10 carp over the two sessions. Averaging mid doubles, I was surprised that I hadn’t given the place a second look since I first visited it years ago.

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All fish were caught on my usual snowman tigernut boilies from Mike at Viking Baits, heavily glugged and fished over a spread of freebies.

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The weather was at times stormy but brought some spectacular scenes..

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And a shot of the Beluga..

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So that was how the run of good fortune began, with confidence restored and the weather getting warmer, I headed back to bream lake to see if I could up the PB of 8.14lb.

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First fish was 11lb 4oz and to say I was delighted is an understatement, the really do look huge when they get to that size and it was nearly joined on the bank by a second double which fell off at the net. Both rods went back out and I would’ve been happy if I’d blanked for the rest of the session, but what happened next really took my fishing to the next level.

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A double double it was, a 10 and a 12.04lb lay in the net and I couldn’t believe my eyes! Never had a double before, then 3 in one go! But it had only just begun…

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A two tone ten pounder was next up, falling for the ever faithful tigernut boilies. I’ve heard it a lot that if you want to avoid bream, use tigernuts, maybe that’s the case but they don’t mind tigernuts when in a boilie.

I just used a scaled down carp set up, pva bag of boilie and pellet and catapulted about 5 kg of groundbait, pellet and corn during the session, increasing the feed once I realised they were having it. Which indeed they were as next up was an 11lb 7oz specimen and the best looking one out of the lot, a stunner.

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All this happened in about 8 hours before the action slowed. The next night I was hoping for more of the same but although I had another 5 bream, no more doubles but all between 7-9lb, which are still good fish. I’ve been trying hard for years to get a double so you can probably imagine what it’s like to get 5 in a day, incredible. I did a bit of filming of the doubles with the GoPro and made it into a short video…

As I was packing up, the bream had shown signs of spawning so it would seem I timed it right, they were obviously gathering to spawn and I had luckily picked the right swim at the right time. Yes they still had to be caught, but i’m under no illusion that if luck and timing weren’t on my side, those fish would not have graced the bank, proved by the fact that my next session on there was a blank. Already half way through the next blog about tench, some good fish already caught but still time for a couple more, until then…

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Last Pike Session Of The Season, Another 20!

Last week was supposed to be my last pike session of what has been a very good season for me, in fact the best to date. In terms of numbers it’s been poor but with a number of nice doubles and four twenties, the effort has been worth it. Those 4am starts, the hour and a half drives, the blanks, but finally it all came together in the last couple of months.

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This session was again an early start to get set up before the usually productive first light feeding spell only to realise that I’d forgot my head torch. Setting up with the light off my phone was interesting, as was wading out my baits whilst chest deep and unable to see where I was going.

Finally all was sorted and I decided to rest my eyes for a bit in anticipation of a take on my large feeder fished herring hook bait placed on my banker margin spot. The other rod hoofed out into the darkness carried a whole sardine.

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It was this rod that woke me up with a blistering take at around 8am, a fish of about 9lb which was quickly returned. As I held the rod poised for the recast, a couple of bleeps came from the alarm with the herring rod. I put down the rod and picked up the other, feeling for a fish on the end, nothing there. I gave it about 30 seconds before attempting to reset the rod.

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I felt a slight twitch transmitted through the braid and realising the fish had been sat on the spot eating the bait, I immediately hit it fearing deep hooking. A huge pull back and a long, powerful run signalled it was game on! A good ten minutes of to-ing and frow-ing brought the fish towards the net side on, it wasn’t easy bringing it in the last few feet, then it bolted off again. Thankfully the back wind was on and 30 yards of line later, we commenced the stalemate once more. I’ve never had a fight like this from a pike, from the sight of it that I got I thought it was perhaps a mid double.

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Eventually it was there, still fighting in the net. The fish wasn’t deep hooked after all and was impeccably marked, as all these fish in here are. I could see my guestimation was wrong and it was a good twenty, 22lb 2oz to be exact! Absolutely made up with it and even better to see it power off back to it’s watery home.

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I had another jack but wasn’t bothered by catching anymore, I’d got what I set out to do and eventually packed up, over the moon with the result.

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Pike Season Round Up

Since the last entry, I have been getting around quite a bit on various waters but haven’t caught many pike, however the ones I’ve had have been good fish, including a new PB of 23lb 9oz. Having found a deeper gulley of about 7ft close in along most of this oxbow lake, that is where I placed my baits. Sardines are one of my first choices of deadbait if you don’t have far to cast, they are like the lepers of the fish world and give off so much smell and attraction, in fact the slicks created from my spots flattened the waves and spread right across the lake before dispersing.

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After what seemed like forever, blotches of oil appeared on the surface and the slick reappeared, closely followed by a moving float! Every run in this place could be a 20, my hands were shaking as I picked up the rod, wound down and struck. Instantly the fish darted with tremendous power creating a huge boil on the surface, thankfully the drag was set sympathetically allowing the pike to easily take line. Another fast run and a wallow on the surface and it was in the bag!

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I thought it was probably a mid double, as it was long but very lean. Then I tried to lift the net out… When you have to really lift with two hands, you know it’s a 20, and was it long. 102cm from the edge of its snout to the tip of its tail with a hollow belly with plenty of room to fill out. On the scales she went 23lb 9oz! Another pike pb to add to the list. Absolutely delighted, can’t tell you how made up I am to see it all come together.

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A couple of scenic shots from this really special venue.

After that, I went away for a weeks skiing in Val d’isere and though not fishing related, I finally got round to going paragliding, which was a truly wonderful experience. A video of which was made…

After that, it was back to the pike water for another go in which I blanked. Undeterred I again went back the following week.

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The bait for this session was lamprey and was injected with copious amounts of oil, soaked in more oil and sprayed with red dye before being slashed to let out the goodness. It was fished in conjunction with a small feeder stuffed with chopped soaked lamprey with a scattering of the same and several handfuls of soaked halibut pellets chucked in over the top. The slick it kicked out just could not be missed by any pike in the area!

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And nor was it, first fish was only a jack but in great condition. This was followed by a new PB but an old fish, the same fish I had earlier but at an ounce heavier, 23lb 10oz.

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It gave me a beating for it’s troubles!

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With the repeat capture, i’d decided that was my pike season finished and I would have a few weeks on the rivers for chub and zander. My first attempt took me to the spectacular Ribble, a very beautiful part of the world. Once at the location, I decided to drive down to the lower car park to shorten the trek with the overnight gear, this proved to be a huge mistake… The fishing was good with a deep spot tight to the near bank in the woods providing me with quite a few bites, three chub landed on bread, all around 3lb with one knocking on four. A fish lost to a snag felt a good bit bigger than the rest, but then the ones that get away always do.

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The night drew in and I retired to the sanctuary of the Supa Brolly with big chunks of garlic spam launched out, which remained untouched all night.The bright morning sunshine revealed a white dusting of frost over the landscape, even my boots were frozen. I however was oblivious to the cold whilst tucked up in the sleeping bag. I tried again for the chub in the horrendously muddy woods swims without success, before packing up and moving on to a stretch further downstream. However, the very steep track leading to the way out was also iced over and it became an ordeal trying to get the car up the hill. I got half way then just started wheel spinning and sliding sideways and to be honest was bricking it a bit as even the brakes weren’t completely stopping the car sliding backwards. In the end I backed up to where I last had traction and floored it, bouncing, wheel spinning and sliding but eventually making it up. The only worry was an awful smell of burning in the car, I’m guessing it won’t be long before I need a new clutch.

One the plus side, despite difficult fishing I managed a trout on the maggot feeder.

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After this came the Trent for barbel and zander. This was an absolute terrible idea, traffic meant 3hr 30m drives, too much rain meant river in flood and awfully muddy banks. I ended up cutting it short to go home and sulk. The less about this one the better!

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So it was back to the pike! I may as well stick to what I know and off I trotted to a familiar water which has been kind to me in the past. The photo above is the average size of fish I was catching on lamprey and eel sections on the first day.

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This was ten pound-ish, slightly better but the best was yet to come.

Day two was a lot slower than the first day, an overnight frost, flat calm water and clear blue skies were the order of the day. Late in the morning the wind picked up and a chop developed on the water, finally bringing the fish on the feed. The productive margin rod on an eel section sprung into life and I hit into what felt like a good fish. Heavy head shakes and strong runs, then the fish leapt clear of the water and the line went slack as it landed, luckily it was still attached and begrudgingly made it’s way to the net.

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Hooked lightly on the bottom treble, it was a wonder I got it in. At just over 15lb it wasn’t the monster I’d hoped for but very welcome after yesterdays ‘jack attack’.

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The rod was laboriously waded back out to the hot spot but despite staying well into dark, that was the last of the action but with nine pike landed over the two days, it was a great session and a fitting end to a most enjoyable pike season.

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One other highlight was watching jets roaring in the clear skies whilst a buzzard gracefully glided overhead.

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Until next time!

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Good Things Come…

This entry ends at the same place it begins. The location is a large expanse of water which is rumoured to hold my target, a specimen pike. The last blog saw the highs of an amazing session on the mighty Trent, which was quickly followed by a very welcome 17lb pike.

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Unfortunately this was the last notable fish for what seemed like a very long time, and it certainly wasn’t for the lack of trying. I’ve been side tracked by perch and chub along the way, the latter of the two have evaded me. With the rivers out of sorts, it was the local canal which I turned to for chub, bread feeder and cheese paste, the classic combo which has worked for me before. Sadly not this season though, maybe the extensive dredging last winter has wrecked the fishing? But as anglers we can find the excuses when it suits us and to be honest, although it isn’t for lack of trying or fishing the wrong waters as I’ve been putting in more effort than ever and going to waters with good form, for whatever reason it just hasn’t been working for me.

The perch above was from Manley Old Hall fishery on the Lymm card, maybe a pound or so, the pike came from another Lymm water, which is the Llangollen canal at Grindley Brook. Both waters hold my target of a 3lb perch, or at least i’m told they do, that is what much of my fishing is based on, hearing rumours and then following them up. I do quite a bit of pioneering on remote canal stretches and rivers but ultimately sharing good information with people helps you find your way quicker. One such ‘pioneering’ session, if I can call it that, was on the canal at Grindley Brook. Lots of walking and no fish and eventually I came across a bridge. I dropped a worm down the edge and straight away a perch was on. This continued so I put on the camera and filmed about 18 perch in an hour coming to the worm bait. The video explains it better than I can…

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This was a 9lb (I think..) pike from Micklewrights flash, another Lymm water which was caught on a livebait whilst showing a pike newbie the ropes. Not that I think i’m qualified to teach others about pike fishing, but Stan had asked on the forum for advice and we arranged to meet up so I could pass on what I have learned. Thankfully it wasn’t a blank! But I’ve become used to those now, very early starts, long drives, day tickets, no fish, or at least none to write home about. The odd jack here and there. It’s been soul destroying seeing everyone landing their 20s whilst I’ve been dropping runs and pulling hooks on very good fish.

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That was some lucky chap landing a good 20 on the other side or the lake, is a good camera the Sony Cybershot. Thankfully the Bridgewater canal finally gave me a reason to use the camera.

A stalking heron.

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A scraper double. But it was a drifted roach that finally brought some relief in the shape of a canal 13lber.

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And that’s where my luck turned, I actually felt confident in my approach again and decided to go back to the big lake to put to bed the 20 I’ve been after this season.  Horrendous wind and rain greeted my arrival, but for some reason I love it. Bad weather seems to produce good pike for me and today was no different.

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A 13.8 took a live roach fished 4ft off the deck just down the steep drop off in 20 odd foot of water. That was the first day. The second day, my good mate Barry came along. Now I must give Barry a mention, he has helped me so much with my fishing, as have several others, and their help has culminated with this beauty of a fish and a new PB of 22,05lb.

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As you can probably tell from my Cheshire Cat grin, I was absolutely delighted! It was such a relief to see the fish in the net, it was like the closing of a chapter. It was an eel section injected with oil that worked after trying many baits and methods and even moving swims.

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As for what’s next, after that i’m not bothered what happens now. Last year, although I managed five PBs, I never had that ‘Dee Barbel’ moment that I had in 2014, that moment where you try so hard for a particular fish, that it almost makes you give up fishing, then you get it. This year, this is that moment, so I can happily plod along happy in the knowledge I’ve ticked one off the list.

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Just another day on the Trent

The majority of my fishing is spent alone to be honest, mainly due to working unsociable hours. But with a week off I organised a few days to catch up with some fishing buddies. First up was the Trent at Newark, Zander were the target and Zander we got!

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I kicked off with an 8.14 then followed up with a 9lb pike, both on a roach tail. Bruce being Bruce weighed in with a 9lb barbel and a new PB zed of 12.2lb! That is the fish I wanted but I was just as happy to see him catch it as I would’ve been to land it myself. It’s a rare specimen and he was delighted to bank it and of course a new PB.

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The next day I managed a 9.4 zed, which was a beauty..

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Very happy with that, I moved downstream to try a new spot on the river for the last day, it was a misty day and the fishing was slow but I winkled out a zander early morning and got a couple of scenic shots.

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I went home and spent the next day on the Dee after pike. Some lovely plump roach and dace on the feeder but they couldn’t tempt me a pike once on the trebles. So back to Newark for just another day on the Trent.

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Barbel, pike and zander were the targets, the latter of which fell to my standard rig of a roach tail mounted on size 8 trebles with 15lb Drennan soft wire on a modified John Sidley rig. With so many missed bites though, we bounced ideas about and next time i’m going to try hair rigging with single hooks and maybe fishing one just off bottom on a float paternoster. We’ll see though as I often end up not sticking to the plan and mixing things up.

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But it was Jase’s day with his first river barbel at a very respectable 9.11lb, on the ever faithful tigernut boilies fished with a groundbait feeder. The barbel screamed off at an ungodly hour and roused us from our slumber. After a decent scrap, the barbel became tethered in something, we could see the fish on top under the light from our head torches, but it couldn’t be moved. After a good few minutes and some gentle persuasion, Jase whipped off his trousers and went for a paddle!

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With the fish in too deep water it couldn’t be reached with the net and it finally dawned on me that it must be snagged on some old line and that maybe if we snagged it with another rod using heavy line, we could free the fish. I held the barbel in position and with one cast of a lure, the loose line was snagged and the fish was free and came to the waiting net.

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The next day we decided to have a go for pike, though nothing we tried worked. Then I remembered something I was told recently that you could gut a fish, float paternoster it and the flow from the river would impart some lifelike movement with the scent leaking out. I really didn’t expect it to work, but suggested it anyway. Jase agreed to give it a go as the rod was already set up ready for a livebait that we just couldn’t catch. Less than half an hour later and…

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What a beast! 19lb of Trent pike.

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Such a powerful fight, I thought it was just a jack at first, maybe a low double. I was telling Jase to stop being a pussy and give it some stick. ‘I am’ he said, ‘It’s a 3lb t/c rod with the drag tight!’. And so it pulled and ran then eventually rolled close in and we could see it was a very nice pike. I waded out with the net and after a few aborted attempts, Jase steered it into the net. I can honestly say that I was as happy to see him land it as I would have been had it been my fish. My hands and legs were shaking after what had just happened and we gave the fish a lengthy rest whilst we fannyed about getting the camera and scales ready. My shaking hands and the fishes weight left the needle on the scales dancing about but give or take a few ounces we settled for 19lb.

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You can see here just how well the pike’s camouflage hides it in the clear water. And back she went to fight another day. Next up was a day on a big water somewhere in Wales. The chap I was fishing with was after double figure pike. And that’s what we got!

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The end result more than made up for the 4am alarm. Arriving at the lake by 6am, it wasn’t long before the baits were out. A dropped run early on gave us hope but the late spring like conditions, very warm and sunny, put the pike activity on hold. Then towards 4pm out of the blue, a huge wall of fog engulfed the lake in minutes, blocking out the sun. This was the trigger for the pike to go on the feed, fish rolling and chasing prey right in front of us, then the left rod, waded out 80 yards down the marginal reed bed gave us the first fish. As I waded the bait back out, the other rod went off. By now the fog had consumed the lake and the once visible scenery was pure white with a hint of orange from the setting sun, a very atmospheric scene. Then finally the fish we came for arrived via the margin rod, it put up a great fight in the shallow water and finally it came to the net, a comfortable double. Needless to say we were both delighted.

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Very well done to Ross on a new PB it was a great day in tough conditions but we stuck with it and got our results. But the fish of the week goes to Jase for nearly doubling his pike PB on his first visit to the Trent. Such a great occasion and coupled with the barbel, it was an unforgettable moment. Very well done to everyone I’ve had the pleasure of fishing this week, all had new personal bests except for me! But fishing is so much more to me than chasing personal glory, being out on the bank with friends in great locations and sharing quality captures is surely what it is all about. I’m sure you’ll agree.

Until next time…

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Dee-lightful perch

Since the Zander session, little has happened that’s worth writing about. Lots of leg work exploring new waters such as the Weaver and plenty of sessions on old favourites after an early season pike, such as the ‘Welsh’ water where an early start gave me an incredible three runs all at once, then nothing for the rest of the day!

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The sunsets at this time of year are incredible and I was treated to a fly past from a Chinook just as the sun fell below the horizon.

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Several sessions on the Bridgewater canal has thrown up a few fish, the best around 9lb on a float fished herring tail. It’s been hard going on the Bridgey and the big pike have yet to turn up in their favoured winter locations. An underwater video of these pike sessions is here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oND_vSeZtw

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But it’s still early days and no need to panic yet about a slow start to the piking. An evening session on the Shroppy for carp was a blank, three months of pre baiting for nothing! However the session was saved once again by the dramatic sunsets we’ve been having and a visit from a friendly frog.

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The moon eclipse was also on show that night…

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But the main point of the blog is the River Dee perch, the first session I had was for pike and I thought I’d blanked but the Waterwolf camera told me otherwise, I could see big perch attacking the livebaits but not giving any indication. The video is here,

So back I went this time with scaled down tactics and a fluorocarbon trace with a size 4 barbless hook so should any pike take the dace livebait and bite through the line, the hook shouldn’t give it any problems. This upper ‘2’ found the bait first and I was delighted to say the least!

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So back I went today with different tactics, one rod, a float, a size 4 hook and some lobworms with maggot as feed. I was fishing close in by an overhanging branch in 8ft of water where the flow was completely still. Around me the wildlife was a hive of activity, a cormorant was about and a kingfisher darted up and down the river, stopping only briefly but long enough for me to finally get a photograph.

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The float hadn’t even settled from the first cast and I was in, a perch of about a pound. Second, third and fourth casts were all the same and I thought I was in for a good day, which got better when the next two casts produced a brace of 2lb+ fish. All in all I managed 19 perch for 15lb, which is for me, a very good days fishing.

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Next on the agenda is a Dee pike, I’ve finally given up my quest for a double figure bream after yet another soul destroying blank so I’m planning another trip to the Trent for Zander in ten days time, when I have a week free from work.

Trent Zander

After last weeks successful barbel session on the Trent at Newark, I decided I had to go back to try for the Zander. The gruelling three hour journey became four after being caught in heavy traffic but I eventually pulled into the gates of A1 pits, South Muskham Fishery and followed the bumpy track down to the river. With around two miles of river to choose from, location would not be easy but with the river running low I opted to fish the swim next to the A1 bridge which I hoped the fish would use as cover.

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I had two rods set up for zander and two for barbel and wasted no time in getting them in the water. Never having fished for zander before, I came up with a scaled down pike rig using Drennan 15lb soft wire, size 8 trebles quite close together and a 3-4oz lead to hold bottom in the strong flow, which I later swopped for a feeder which I stuffed bits of chopped bait in to. The bait itself was roach, either a head or tail section with the middle bit crammed into the feeder. Bite indication is the ‘999 alarm’ by Zandavan productions, it’s basically an alarm and LED built into a line clip which sounds when the tilt switch is activated after the line pulling out of the clip. A great piece of kit and only a tenner. http://www.zandavan.co.uk/alarms.html#999_Alarm

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The barbel rods gave me the odd bream and the zander rods remained quiet for the first night, not what I had planned. The second night I was stunned when the roach tail was taken and the alarm sounded, I struck into the run and felt little resistance, it was indeed my first zander but probably one of the smallest in the river. It was job done in terms of landing the target species, but me being me, wanted bigger and better. After morning came, I packed up the gear and threw it into the car, which you can park on your swim, and made my way downstream in search of deeper water, which I thought the zander would prefer. At the end of the track was a long sweeping bend which looked ideal, but these pegs were taken and I had to make do with being close by.

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As usual my first task was sweeping the area with my sonar device which revealed the water to be slightly deeper at 8-10ft and a few casts with the Waterwolf camera revealed a sandy bottom strewn with small rocks and coarse gravel. By this point, i’d given up on barbel as the conditions weren’t right and not much was coming out, so switched my rods over to an all out zander attack. One rod down the near shelf, one on the far shelf and one down the middle.

After three days with nothing to show for the effort except that small example, my morale was as low as the chilly temperature on that misty night. The deadbaits were starting to stink which won’t appeal to a finicky Zander, I’d resigned myself to a blank and given up the rod side vigil for the comfort of my sleeping bag. Not long after my head hits the pillow, the line pings out of the clip and the alarm wails. Bare footed I scramble across the muddy bank and hit the run.

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The bait in the middle of the river had been picked up and finally I felt the weighty resistance of a fish on the end, I daren’t think about how big it may be, just concentrating on getting it in. As I struggled to coax the fish through a weed bed in front of me, a bright shooting star just caught my eye through the mist in the starlit sky. Perhaps it would be my lucky day after all. The fish loudly thrashed on the surface and I knew it was a good ‘un. By now my hands were shaking as I saw the bright orange glow from the zanders eyes reflecting the head torch light. In to the net it went and I was stunned by the size of it, such a good looking fish too. Unhooking was interesting as the zander seem to forcefully snap their vampiric jaws at will making it awkward to remove the hooks.

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So that was that, job done at the first attempt, although not the double I’d wanted, at 9.8lb I’m very happy indeed. I would really like to bag a 10lb+ bream before pike season begins, so that will be my target and perhaps another attempt for a big chub before winter is upon us.

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Barbel bonanza on the Trent!

Had a mixed two day session on the Mere last week, lost a monster bream, a MONSTER bream. It was giving a very good fight and kited to my left, but I couldn’t tell where it was as it was pitch black. I heard splashing 20 yards to my left, it was snagged in a tree… Luckily it shed the hook so no damage was done and I managed to get my rig back. Gutted beyond belief. I’ve never known such fight in a bream. After a period of sulking, the rod eventually went back out and I retreated to my sleeping bag, but struggled to sleep as I wondered what might have been.

The next morning the rod rips off, only a carp would take line with such speed. It also kited to my left, I very quickly started pumping the rod and turned the fish and after a short but spirited tussle, a mint 11lb ish mirror was in the net. Probably the smallest carp in the mere but some people have gone a long, long time blanking on there so I was happy and it took the edge off losing the bream. A quick photo and the carp was returned to the mysterious depths of the mere.

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That session was a rare success in an otherwise barren six weeks, I did have a couple of barbel and a chub from the Severn, but my camera decided to pack in and I’ve no photos to show. Every poor session is one session closer to that red letter day and after this run I sensed something big was coming, but I wasn’t expecting what the mighty River Trent was about to give me on my first ever visit.

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I made the two and a half hour gruelling drive and arrived just before dark, I had a quick sweep of the river with my sonar device and found a deep channel a couple of rod lengths out. These devices are invaluable and I would highly recommend them to anyone. The groundbait was quickly mixed and I sent 10 feeder loads to the upstream spot, laced with hemp, pellet and the ever faithful tigernut boilies from Viking Baits. As always I keep things simple and my rig was a free running 4oz feeder, a bead, a swivel and 18 inches of Drennan sink braid to a size 8 Drennan barbel hook. The boilie hookbaits were glugged and I sent out a pva bag of pellet and boilie with each cast.

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Twenty minutes after the rods went out, I was stunned when the alarm screamed as a barbel tore off with the bait. A good scrap ensued and my first Trent Barbel was a double!

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The morning came and I had three fish in the bag, the action had slowed but I managed to pick up a few during the day, including a nice bream of about 6lb.

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But it was the second night which i’ll remember for a long time to come, as soon as the sun dipped beneath the horizon, the rods began showing signs of fish in the area. Then it began! The left hand rod rips off and I eventually get a powerful barbel under control just as the other rod goes, still playing the first fish, I grabbed the rod, knocked off the bait runner and stuck the butt into the ground whilst landing the barbel. Once in the net, I switched rods and another arm wrenching battle began, a good ten minutes of holding on while the fish ran off upstream, the back down, then back up, all I could do was wait until it tired out. Finally it joined the other one in the net and got a well earned rest. After a quick unhooking and weighing, they had another few minutes breather before I got a few photos then let them return to fight another day. Almost a brace of doubles, but at 10.12 and 9.10 I was over the moon!

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And that’s how it continued all night, constant bites, double hook ups including another double and an 8, lost fish, another bream and a chub and a tally of 17 barbel, with 4 doubles, 2 nines, 6 eights the rest being 6 and 7s. All in all, the best barbel session I’ve ever had by a country mile and one I doubt i’ll ever repeat.

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PB crucian, big cat and perch

Shortly after the last update, I had a visit to the river Dee where it’s safe to say things didn’t go to plan. Towards the end of a largely fruitless session I put my left foot down an a hole hidden by the long grass and badly sprained my ankle ligaments. The half mile crawl back to the car, visit to A+E and a week on crutches wasn’t the end to the session I’d hoped for, but I always look for the positives which came in the shape of the best sunset I’ve seen in many a year.

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But as this blog is about fishing and not being too long winded, here is a quick round up of my latest sessions from a variety of waters.

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The crucian water produced a new PB of 2.04lb, float fished corn on light gear feeding micro pellets. Some nice tench to 5lb have also graced my net from this lovely pool.

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I’ve spent a lot of time on various lengths of the Shropshire union canal, the carp have been playing hard to get but I’ve done ok for other species. A 20lb bag of bream, perch and eels came to the groundbait feeder and worm and a couple of visits to another area has produced some very nice roach and perch.

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A trip to a large, lightly fished Cheshire mere, rumoured to hold uncaught monsters predictably ended in a blank. Even the cormorants struggled to catch!

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However the icing on the cake has been Lymmvale catfish. I’ve not fished much this year for the cats so was absolutely delighted when the rollover indicator slammed into the rod rest and the line peeled off the spool. At least twenty minutes passed before I felt in control of the fish, even then it was a struggle gaining line. Eventually the fish came to the net and what a great experience it was. It’s a rare event catching one of the few big cats in the Vale and I’m very grateful to the chap who reeled in to come and take some photos for me.

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I’ll be thinking about the rivers soon as we head towards September but between now and then, I still have a 20+ year itch of catching a big eel I need to scratch. Hopefully the next time I muse over my angling exploits, it will be with a big eel in my arms!

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