Thursday, 14 February 2013

February 2013

Friday 8th February

Hob Hole drain

I was hankering after somewhere new to try after my Bain exploits and I recalled a place that Tony had told of a few months earlier- a place on the Hobhole drain that he said was thick with Perch and some big ones too. Now give me a stretch of natural river and I can read it, I was brought up on them. Drains are totally alien to me and miles and miles of arrow straight water doesn't really appeal. Having been a match angler in the area for the last twenty odd years Tony knows his stuff and I always listen when he tells me something. And so it was that Friday morning I found myself eagerly heading down to the spot dreaming of Perch so abundant I could walk across them!

I hope nobody is fishing there I thought as I got closer. It was with a sigh of relief that no cars were parked in the area as I pulled up. Someone was fishing though- a bloody great Cormorant body surfing in the flow just down from the pumping station. Not a problem I thought as it flew off reluctantly. I took it as a good sign that there must be some fish present. I set up two tip rods and fished all the likely looking spots with worm while feeding maggot over the top. Three hours passed without a single touch. Now although the spot looked the part my confidence began to wane. About half an hour later the workers in the yard opposite started a fire at the base of the big,tall chimney. You can just make it out in the photo. Anyway I was downwind and big bits of partially burnt catalogue pages started landing all over the water and the bank, one hitting me as it smoldered away. It was all to much and I packed up. Looking back at the photo maybe it was a bit too coloured for Perch so maybe I'll try again. The Cormorant was a pain but they know no better. The owner of that yard? He undoubtedly does. Shameful really.

Tuesday 12th February
Secret River and Wolds Grift
My favourite venue the Secret River. A fairly long drive and not a single bite. That's six visits without a touch this winter. The locals are blaming Cormorants but the river has been in a terrible state on every visit. It was really low this time (the sluices were fully open again) but very heavily coloured. Also the banks were strewn with debris from the higher water levels. All kinds of rubbish from beer cans to plastic bags. Remember - this is meant to be a beautiful chalk stream. As before I am sure man is doing as much damage to the fishing as the birds. Maybe next season will be kinder.
While I was in the area I stopped off at the bridge over the Wolds Grift. In the 1500's it was known as the Alford Eau before they made it a catchwater drain. Again not a single bite and it looked like someone had fly-tipped directly under the bridge. Ho hum. Don't let this put you off. I am fishing for big fish with worms and bread. Maybe if I were fishing maggot I would have caught. The Wolds Grift-
Wednesday 13th February
River Bain
I didn't really want to go to the Bain again as I wanted to give you a bit of variety but with the disastrous week before I needed to catch some fish. I went to my normal stretch and walked right to the top and settled in the weir pool. I had cheese as bait and also bought a small loaf before setting off  to try and find some decent roach. A bite less first hour didn't do a lot for my confidence. A few dog walkers said their cheery hello's and I responded with warmth. It's really important when fishing to be friendly although a lot of the time you just want to be left alone. The first time an angler is rude then we all get tarred with the same brush. Anyway I love dogs so having a friendly little spaniel trying to eat your cheese is all part of the fun up here.
After another twenty minutes I reeled in to try somewhere else. My second rod, however seemed to have something on the end-

Sodding Signal Crayfish. Bless it, it was giving me the international signal for surrender! Now I no they are a so-called 'invasive species' but I didn't have the heart to kill it. I went sea fishing with peeler crabs once and it was really quite upsetting. Soft bugger I know. Anyway isn't it just evolution? Bigger, better than our native ones. Like grey squirrels. Our red ones are cute and all but as a squirrel the grey is a lot better. I digress. I moved down to the tree and caught a Chub straight away. 3lb 10oz-

After that I moved again to a glide I hadn't tried before and caught another Chub after a few minutes around the same size as the previous one. It was turning out to be quite a good session and I continued on with renewed enthusiasm. I had a few really strange bites that I was sure were from Roach when I heard someone shouting behind me.
Now I should say now that if you do see me on the bank then you may need to shout to get my attention as I usually have my phone in my hood so I can listen to the radio. This was the case on this occasion and I fumbled with my hood and phone so I could hear whatever this person was trying to say. I turned around to see a tall, old, country type bloke on the top of the bank. "You do know this is private now, don't you?" he bellowed. "Really? How long has it been like that?" I asked calmly. "About two years.". "Oh". I turned back around to show I wasn't really bothered. "Who's got it now then?" I asked while continuing to fish. "Waltham Chubbers or something, they had it off me a couple of years ago". From this I took it that I was speaking to the land owner. "Oh well, I'll have to get hold of them," I replied. "I don't mind paying," I added and I meant it. "Well you can't pay me cause they have already paid", the farmer added. I didn't reply. "Er....try and get hold of them then and don't come back unless you have," he said as he wandered off.
Right where do I start with this? I was angry after he left but now I can be more pragmatic. He was old and I have alot of respect for my elders but saying "This is private now" to me will only end in tears. Private basically means we have parties here and your not invited to any of them. I'm simply not going to have it. A stretch further down is run by Boston AA. It's clearly signposted and I fully intend to join next season. Until then I wont fish it. If Waltham Chubbers do exist (which I doubt) then may I suggest they don't lease a stretch of river next to a public footpath thirty miles away. For a start where are the local kids meant to fish? Secondly if you rent a piece of river then it is up to you to police it and put signs up etc. Lastly if  you want to catch someone poaching then pop down next Monday, I'll be in the glide below the tree.
Back to the fishing. I stopped long enough just to let the farmer know I was less than bothered by his rude interruption. After his outburst I didn't get a bite but the seed had been planted. Those bites were from Roach and I will be going back. After about half an hour I moved right down to below the road bridge. Having never had a bite here I was slightly surprised when one of my tips started twitching suspiciously. I few missed bites later and a small roach came to hand. I was disappointed with the size but sometimes it's enough to just achieve your aim. I'll leave you with a picture of the last swim I fished and while I'm not promising , I really hope I have something better to show you in the near future.
.............................Till next time

Friday, 1 February 2013

January 2013 part 2

Thursday 24th January

River Bain

I was eager to get to the river after my previous exploits. The snow was still thick on the ground and the reading on my in car temperature gauge was minus two. I headed to a new stretch I had sniffed out on the ubiquitous Google earth.

What Google earth didn't show was the large metal gate blocking the access road. Two heavy padlocks were dangling from the chain but luckily the chain wasn't all the way around the gate so I swung it open and made my way to the river. I didn't really take any notice of my surroundings as I parked up and dashed down to the waters edge. The River passed through a big sluice and this produced a big swirling pool of water that looked very inviting. I set up my tip rod and cast a big bit of cheese right into the fast water. I watched this while setting up a float rod to do a bit of trotting down to the end of the run.

Nothing was doing on the float but I regularly dribbled some maggots in to try and tempt something as I plugged away. On about my tenth trot down with the float my tip rod went limp. Flow must have dislodged my swan shot I thought. I struck anyway to deposit my cheese in the swim. To my surprise I was met with a heavy thump on the end of the line. Whatever was on the end was going nuts in the wild water. After a couple of minutes my line went solid. Bugger. I carefully applied as much pressure as I dared and it came free. A minute or so later a very big Chub came thrashing to the surface. With a deft flash of it's tail it headed upstream again and I felt a faint grating on the line. You know what's coming next. The line parted.

I set up again although I was fairly certain I had blown my chance. A bite-less hour followed to confirm this. Couple this with my little travel chair disintegrating I decided to have a wander about to check out some other swims. I clambered up the slippery bank and made my way upstream. Oh dear! There were big private signs all over the place. Couple this with two farmers working in a nearby field and I began to feel severely unwelcome. Seems I had been fishing in the only spot not overlooked by a stern warning. As if to rub it in I saw a group of tiny fish scatter behind a weed-bed just inside the private bit. Almost certainly a big Perch hunting. May have to bring my gum shield when I target that one! (Only joking) 

I looked at my watch, it was 2pm. There was still time to get in the car and head up river to the section that had produced for me on the Monday. I trudged up to the top of the stretch and popped a few bits of cheese into a few likely looking spots on the way. Now chair-less I cleared a small area of snow and sat on the cold grass. I had a few casts before eventually the tip trembled before it pulled steadily round. I had my scales with me this time and I was slightly disappointed that it wasn't the same stamp of fish I had caught a few days before. Still at 3lb 2oz it was a fine looking Chub and brightened up my day no end. A few quick shots were taken before I slipped it back into the icy depths.

 An hour later and I was on the move again. About a hundred yards downstream a big tree hangs nearly all the way across the River. Having baited up earlier I expected to get a bite straight away. It wasn't until the light faded though, about half an hour later, that I got a bite. It was a delicate affair and I was unsure on how long to leave it before striking. I must have timed it right though because after a tense tussle I had a four pounder in the net. 4lb 9oz to be exact. A fine end to a cold but very enjoyable day.

Friday 25th January

River Bain

A short but ultimately fruitless afternoon session. I will say this though. We can all be macho and a bit single-minded in our quests sometimes but winter fishing can be unpleasant bordering on dangerous. It wasn't any colder than my previous two visits and while hunkered down in the tree swim I was quite happy. My hands were cold but not unduly so. After missing what was probably the only bite I was going to get I decided to move further downstream.

I got to the top of the bank and the strength of the wind became apparent. A sharp, blisteringly cold wind. Within thirty seconds my hands were becoming painful (I had gloves on). My intended short walk had turned into a bit of a hike to get back to the car and get warmed up. It was a savage head wind and a deeply unpleasant experience. The temperature gauge in the car was reading minus two, no colder than the previous day. Most of my gear is windproof apart from my gloves. It took half an hour to get full feeling back in my fingers.

Thursday 31st December

River Bain

The snow melt had put paid to a visit earlier in the week although I did walk the full stretch with Mrs P and the dogs. We walked further downstream than I had been before and a couple of spots in the village took my fancy.

Thursday came around and I was in the Village at around half past eight. I parked up at the church and started to get my gear together. Unfortunately it was also a drop off point for the local primary school and I did look a bit out of place among all the kids and mums! Anyway I walked through the graveyard and tried a couple of spots with no success. The wind was super strong and although it wasn't cold it did nearly blow me off the top of a stile. It was so strong that most of the stretch was unfishable. I headed back to the car and drove back the short distance to my normal stretch.

The wind was a pain here too. Nevertheless I stuck it out for a couple of hours with just a small Chub from the weir-pool to show for my efforts. It was about a pound and a half and looked like it had just been minted. Probably never been caught before. I did have a couple of trembles in the tree swim but they produced nothing. I had been on the river probably four hours and gave best and vowed to return on another day. As I walked back to the car I noticed some of the colour was dropping out of the water. I would need to return soon. Upon getting back home this didn't seem likely as my new river obsession had got the better of Mrs P as she demanded I spend more time with her. Ho hum.

Friday 1st Feb

River Bain

"What you doing today?" I asked Mrs P. "Got rehearsals in Grantham and then an audition in Leicester," she replied. "What time you leaving?". "2pm."

By 2.30pm I was parking up by the Bridge. I was a bit disappointed to see the River was still heavily coloured. It had been my plan to try a few spots for Roach as Neil from the tackle shop had told me of some big fish on the stretch. I had some bread mash already prepared and intended to fish small bits of flake.

I headed straight for the weir pool and set up a small feeder and fished as planned for about an hour. Bread mash in the feeder and a size 12 hook with a small piece of flake for bait. No bites were forthcoming so I set my Chub rod up with a three swan shot link and a big piece of cheese. I was a bit paranoid about the noise of the feeder going in so I swapped that too for some swan shot. Another hour passed before I had the tiniest of bites on the bread rod. I connected and I initially thought it was a Roach, then it woke up! Five minutes later I had a Chub in the net. A big one too.

I quickly weighed it and took a few snaps before returning it to the depths. At just two ounces off five pounds it is the biggest Chub I have caught to date. Shame it wasn't a 'five' but still a fantastic fish from such a small river.


I have realised this blog is popular with people like Neil from the tackle shop and my mates Rob and Steve. All people that would love to have more time to fish but due to family commitments and work can't. So this is for all my friends that can't get out there as much as they would like. I've been bloody freezing, wet, muddy and in trouble with Mrs P. The fact that this blog will bring you some enjoyment makes it all worthwhile. Thanks for reading.

Till next time...................