Saturday, 26 February 2011

Show Him How It's Done

Took Mentalor over to Beeston to try and get him picking up some of the bits I'd found here last time...
after 20 mins had passed without a bite, and with no fish topping it wasnt looking good. My master plan had been to spend the first half float fishing for small stuff, then switch to target the pike that had been so active here on my last visit. Of course with the shoals missing the thought crossed my mind that the pike had probably also followed them.
my single pinkie hanging from the size 24 went untouched for the whole session, I tried from overdepth to just under the surface and every combination of colour and size. The fish just didn't seem to be there. Finally Mentalor got a  bite and swung in a bleak. Taking the fish from him I hooked it onto the single size 2 attached via a steel trace to a paternoster rig. This was designed to keep the fish near the surface and prevent it from seeking refuge in the weed and debris at the bottom of the canal. This rod was placed on the alarms and we turned out attention back to watching the biteless floats. Mentalors float occasionally dipped and dithered in a half hearted way from time to time but mine, 12ft or so away remained stubbornly stolid.
Then, bingo! mentalor was in again, and it would prove to be a first of species on rod and line. OK, only a minnow, but as I was getting out my micro-species scales to check its weight (It would be a new PB after all) my alarm bleeped into life and I lifted into a much bigger fish... which soon began to peel the line off the clutch as the rod hooped over. As I played the fish I also talked Mentalor through the finer points of fitting a net into its spreader block, and he had the net assembled and into the canal in plenty of time to net out a mean looking pike of five or six pounds.

Of course now were were out of livebait - and with no further action on the maggots I decided a switch was needed, so we packed up the rods and moved a few hundred yards over to the River Trent. The river was probably a metre or so above summer level, coloured and rising.
Mentalor put a rod out legering with a found worm, while a second rod floatfished maggots in the slack water at our feet. I went all out for barbel, with halibut pellet on one rod and a spicy shrimp pop up on the other. At about 6pm the spicy shrimp did the business, and as the alarm sounded I lifted into a strong fish that headed well out into the flow. It took three good runs before Mentalor did  the honours & netted it for me. A Pike/Barbel double bill, No monsters but I was pleased, Mentalor has had a glimpse of what this fishing lark is really all about

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Trudging the Erewash

I just had to have another look at the river so decided to visit the next section upstream from Toton at Long Eaton. There had been 10mm of rain overnight the first for ages, and the skies were still leaden. but I was still optimistic, it takes more than a bit of overnight rain to upset the Trent....But not the Erewash!
Chocolate brown and pushing through,all features of the river were well hidden, and this being my first visit to this stretch I was struggling to tell if the pegs I was trotting through were normally deep glides or shallow riffles. I ended up switching between trotting and laying on in the bits of slacker water I found. but generally only gave each swin a few minutes before splashing and slithering along the muddy track to the next spot.
I had reached the arear of the footbridge when a snag parted my hooklength and I fumbled around all my pockets in search of my hook wallet. With dismay I recalled leaving the wallet on the ground in the first peg I had fished, meaning to pick it up...
I had no choice but to troop the half mile back to the first peg, and fortunately the wallet was still where I had left it. I then dropped tot the last peg on theis section, below the bridge. The river is wider here, and the reduced pace made for more confortable trotting. I still got no bites though... Anglers fishing the Erewash Canal had fared no better, so on the lookouf for somewhere productive to take Mentalor next weekend I hopped back into the car to try the canal at Beeston. There was only an hour or so of good light left by the time i made my first cast. Feeding a dozen pinkies every couple of minutes there were plenty of topping fish in the swim but I was getting no bites with size 18 with double pinkie. I fined down to a size24 to 12oz line and a single pinkie and immediatey started getting some action. Over the next 40 mins I caught bleak, including a very nice 58 gram specimen ( I'm suprised how light bleak weigh, relative to their length!), a couple of roach, a hybrid, a single silver bream and a cute baby bronze bream. I also took a minnow and a pair of perch. I fished until I could no longer see the float, but the bites had dried up 10 mins earlier, after the last perch.
Throughout the session pike had been constantly harrying the bleak, breaking the surface on several occasions - I wasnt equpped to take a pop at them, But next weekend I'll be back with my apprentice. There should be plenty to keep us going...

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Glanwye Grayling

I scooted back to my home county this weekend to visit my dad before he starts his chemotherapy, and squeeze in a session of grayling fishing on the upper Wye near Builth Wells.
  Phill was to be my partner in crime, and the heist we had planned centred upon stealing some ladies from the river. The beat we fished was a mile or so downstream of Builth wells, Glanwye used to be one of the best (and most exclusive) salmon streteches on the Wye... but the Wye is now a shadow of its former self as fare as salmon are concerned. Outside of salmon season the Wye and Usk foundation manage the fishing, offering prime grayling fishing bookable via their box office for the price of a £15 dayticket.
After overnight B&B with my brother, Phill & I left Hereford at a bit after 10:30, winding our way through the scenic Wye valley we arrived at Builth Wells at around midday, having missed the entrance to the fishery courtesy of Phill's map reading capabilities.  After a quick u turn we pulled up on the drive outside the fishing lodge. A quick snoop around persuaded us that this would be a pretty nice place to hole up if the weather turned, books and games were framed by fine mounted salmon, tube flies, and blank and white prints of gigantic silver leviathans.
  We were not about to tarry though, the day would be short, and the sun was shining, radiating a warmth that defied the frigid february air. we made the 15 or 20 minute trek to the head of the fishery, I started out trotting a likely looking spot at the confluence with the tiny stream, I trotted the edge of the flow from the stream, fishing along the crease formed as its energy dissipated into the main river.  Despite everything looking perfect, I could not win a bite, and Phill, who was about 40yds downstream of me, let me know, via the walkie talkies that he was dropping further downstream. I soldiered on for a quarter of an hour more before admitting defeat and following him. Leapfrogging our way down the river, neither of us had seen any sign of a fish. It was as phill was cooking up a brew that I spotted the ghillie walking the bank towards us. "Am i glad to see you" I shouted, "where are all the fish!" .He laughed, and as if to rub things in exclaimed "what... you've not caught any, what are you doing wrong?"
In the chat the followed it turned out that, as it happened, we were doing nothing wrong. "keep on at it... these pegs here... a pod will tun up sooner of later.
it wasn't too long before Phill saw the first signs... "I think I got a bite there" he exclaimed... still no sign of a bite for me though, i moved a few yards further upstream as the tail end of my trot was running into Phills swim, loosing line of signt to my fishing buddy. The radio crackled "fish on!" and I dropped the rod to take a look at the result.

as the afternooon drew my float had not so much as dabbled, Phill had had another few bites without connecting. "come on then, your turn to catch one" he said. The Generosity wasn't without cause, the cold was beginning to take its toll on Phill...( though I have no doubt he would have shared the hotspot even if it was a scorching summers day!) He wandered back towards the lodge to warm up with a bit of exercise and another hot drink.

Within about a dozen trots, and shortly after Phill had crossed the brow of the ridge, the chubber dipped away and my target was hooked, jabbing the rodtip as it tried to shake the hook. Mission accomplished i didnt even bother recasting, with Phills help I'd dodged a blank and I trailed back to the lodge as well.