15/12/2010 - River Soar

With a return to sub-zero temperatures imminent, thought I'd better make use of the current "mild" conditions and grab a couple of hours somewhere. Headed to River Soar with the temperature in the car reading a balmy 6 degrees. Suprised to find the carpark full, but was relieved to see that they were all tiddler bashing on the canal. Had the whole section of river to myself apart from the Kingfisher and a Little Grebe. River was still slightly coloured, so it was the black pepper spam that came out of the bait bucket. Baited up a few spots then started fishing them in rotation. Had a fish after only a couple of minutes in the first swim - a skinny 2lber. Had a better fish of just over 3lb in swim number three after missing a tentative pull in the previous spot. Blanked in swim number four, then returned to the first spot once again. Again, bite was almost instantaneous and resulted in best fish of the afternoon.

Rub a dub

Tried a couple more spots, but nothing more forthcoming. Think I've already established which are the most consistent swims on the stretch. Just need to catch one a bit bigger now. Oh, and happy birthday Dai if you're reading this on the 16th!

05/12/2010 - River Dove

Much anticipated return to Tim's syndicate stretch of the River Dove, this time with the the trotting rod and a pint of maggots. Earlier in the year Tim had had several grayling over 40cm on the fly, including a personal best of 2lb 9oz. Arrived at the venue in thick fog with the thermometer showing minus 7 degrees! However, by the time Tim turned up the sun had started to break through and we were soon working up a bit of a sweat, slogging across the field through the snow to the river. Started just downstream of one of the weirs on the section. After trotting down a nice glide for half an hour without any indications, I moved upstream slightly and found a pocket of fish hanging just off the main flow near the weir itself.

Tim in the hotspot

In the next couple of hours I took ten grayling and a bonus brownie from the spot, all of which went like the clappers, twisting and turning in the clear water. Most of the fish were males and in great condition. Seven of them were over the pound mark, with the biggest at 1lb 15oz. Not quite the two pounder, but a fantastic fish. Tim had a similar number, again with a trout thrown in.

So close!

We did move downstream to try a couple more spots. However, arriving at the next swim to find your centrepin frozen solid is probably telling you something, so we decided to quit while we were ahead! Hopefully, next time Tim will have worked out how to light his Kelly Kettle.......

15/11/2010 - River Soar

A new rod and a new river. Had been after a Drennan Medium Feeder rod for a while for my small river chubbing. Finally managed to pick up a mint one off eBay for £50. Decided to go and christen it on the Soar. Had bought a club ticket a few weeks ago, but had never got round to using it. Stretch had certainly looked chubby when I went for a recce. Lots of creases and near bank features.

Anybody home?

Arrived to find that my colleagues from Fisheries had just been through the section with the electrofishing boat looking for wayward salmon! Not brilliant news, but they had turned up a number of fish of different species and the information was filed away for future use. Had also thrown a load of old loaves in the bait bucket with a view to fishing flake and crust over mashed bread. However, river was still carrying quite a bit of colour. Luckily I had two tins of black pepper spam with me as well. One was chopped up and some freebies dropped in a number of likely looking spots. Left everything to rest while I set up, then worked downstream. First swim drew a blank. Had a few tentative knocks in the second swim, before tip pulled round and I soon had my first Soar chub of 3lb 10oz in the net.


Continued to work downstream, dropping a bit more bait into each swim when I'd finished before going back to the top and working down again. Had four more chub from 2lb upwards before the bait ran out. All fought like stink. Was definitely a refreshing change from sitting behind bite alarms and to have a chub actually put a bend in the rod!

04/11/2010 - River Derwent

Couldn't let another mild spell go by, so shot down to Draycott after work. River was slightly up, certainly enough to stimulate the few salmon seen jumping at Borrowash weir the day before. Just stuck with the one rod this time and soon had a paste wrapped boilie sitting on the crease. Quiet in the hour before dark apart from when the bailiff made me jump out of my skin when he appeared at my side with a shotgun over his arm. At least his thieving dogs didn't get any of my pellets this time. He'd not long gone when the rod wrapped round. Thought it was a decent fish, but turned out to be a scale perfect 5lber with a tail like a paddle


Added a second of similar size about 40 minutes later. Hung on until about 7 pm when the wind and rain finally got to me and the fireworks over Derby were building to a crescendo.

21/10/2010 - River Derwent

Another two weeks that have flown by without any fishing. Never mind. Had three days of great surf at Saunton and got out on the mountain bike when friends came to stay last weekend. However, when the opportunity did arise I was straight down to Borrowash. Was expecting great things with it being so mild compared to previous days. Certainly started catching on the float rod straight away, including a decent stamp of roach.

Good fun on the float

Soon had a paternoster out alongside a reed bed downstream. Had only been in a couple of minutes before I had the first run. Unfortunately, this turned out to be one of my friends called "Jack"! A couple of casts later with the float rod and I had one of his mates go airborne after a chub I was just lifting out of the water. This was followed by a dropped run on the paternoster and an another attack on the float rod by something that left a very impressive boil at my feet. Seemed to go quiet after this initial flurry of activity. However, whilst I continued to catch steadily on the float rod, ending up with a nice mixed bag of roach, chub, dace and bleak, there wasn't any sign of any perch.

Perhaps with the recent cold weather I now need to go looking for the perch, rather than building up a swim full of silver fish and waiting for them to come to me, especially with so many pike about. Will definitely be going back with the pike gear though!

06/10/2010 - River Dove

No fishing for best part of a week again due to work and social engagements. However, had made a date in the diary to meet up with my mate Tim that I wasn't going to change. Settled on the Dove at Tutbury as the venue. Was feeling really confident when we got there. River was still above normal level and nicely coloured. Settled onto a classic smooth, "walking pace" glide above a big willow and soon had two paste-wrapped boilies positioned downstream. With minimal debris coming down, things looked perfect.......

How could I go wrong?

Unfortunately, things were far from perfect as neither of us had a touch for the next four hours (unless you count the minnow came back impaled on my hook)! Perhaps we should have moved around a bit, who knows? Bit disappointing to say the least.

No fishing this weekend - surfing at Saunton!

Postscript: Tim went back the following evening for another go and, whilst he didn't catch any barbel, he had a PB chub of 6lb exactly on meat!

26/09/10 - River Derwent

Cold, grey and windy......what the hell! Headed off to the Derwent at about 4 pm. Got there to find an empty carpark (what a suprise!). Was soon tucked down out of the wind. Not cosy, but comfortable. Basically spent the first two hours feeding my new pellets to the chub. Had several of those chubby "doinks" on the rod top that come completely out of the blue and give you heart attack, but then leave you paranoid about whether you've got a bait left on the hair.....until the next "doink" that is! Bailiff came along for a chat. Fed a few pellets to his dog, or rather his dog helped itself. More rattles and pulls, until a chub eventually came along with a big enough mouth to take the hook as well. Gave a scrap worthy of a small barbel. Just into dark had a proper wrap around bite on the downstream rod, resulting in a barbel of just under 7lb.

Great condition, but a bit bigger please!

Fished on a bit longer, but even the chub appeared to have lost interest. Two fish chalked up to the combi rig anyway. Left about 8 pm, narrowly avoiding the big steaming pile deposited by the bailiff's dog, probably in thanks for all the pellets it ate.....

25/09/10 - Bits and bobs

Work and family commitments and two days in bed with man flu put paid to any fishing this week. Had a walk up the Trent from work on Friday lunchtime. Was blowing a gale, freezing cold and there were big drifts of leaves already coming down the river. All in all very depressing. Even the sight of two hoodies crouched under a golf umbrella on the far bank while their mate helplessly thrashed the water with a spinner didn't cheer me up.

Autumn's arrived!

Went to Walkers today to restock on bits and came out £40 poorer, which depressed me even more. I had been looking at my rigs after the thrashing Jim had given me last week and decided that the fluorocarbon I had been using was a bit too inflexible with smaller hooks and baits. Therefore tied up some combi-rigs with a short section of braid on the end of the fluorocarbon hooklink.

Combi rig

The "6 up, 6 down" knot gives a really neat finish to the rig (see Sean Harrison tie it here http://www.questbaits.com/docs/videovault/combirig/index.html). Also bought some of the new Sonubaits Elips pellets. If I behave myself I may get a chance to try them on the Derwent tomorrow. Better start by getting the tea on.........

17/09/10 - River Trent

Up in Newark area again in the afternoon, so arranged to meet Jim, a colleague from work, at Fiskerton afterwards.

Omens weren't good as the the anglers on the first few pegs hadn't had a knock all day. River was gin clear despite the rain the previous day. However, we decided to carry on a bit further downstream to an area where Jim had caught a few fish last week. Seems Jim knew something I didn't as he had two 7 lbers in his first two casts. I had to wait just after dark for a 5 lber and then a little bit later for a proper one, albeit with a deformed left pectoral that gave it a drunken roll when I popped it back.


Jim had packed up and come over to my peg for a chat just before I had my second fish. He'd done considerably better than me and had caught ten to just over 7lb. Whilst we had both been fishing similar tactics, i.e. pellet hookbaits with PVA bags, he'd been fishing a single Elips pellet on a size 10 hook with a 5 ft fluorocarbon hooklink. Food for thought and something I should have picked up on earlier! As we walked back to the car I'm sure I heard the owl that had flown over my head earlier shout "T....wit"!

10/09/10 - River Derwent

Looked pretty gloomy over Derby way, but set off anyway. At least I wouldn't have any "wild swimmers" to worry about!

Arrived at the (empty!) carpark just as it brightened up. There was a Little Egret on the shallows, but it spotted me coming and scarpered before I could get a photo. Went past where I would be fishing later to where there was a bit more flow for the trotting rod. Started catching a few bits straight away, including some nice roach.

Not perch bait!

Unfortunately this soon caught the attention of at least one pike that appeared in the margins under my feet. Therefore decided to make an early move, rather than get smashed up again by a spotty bait-snatcher. As it turned out, it didn't really make much difference! Got the bait fish going in my new swim before putting out two perch paternosters. What followed was a repeat of last trip. Had three takes, but all from pike, biggest about 8 lb. All safely landed with the modified rig and good fun on the light tackle, but not what I was after. Think a change of venue is due now. Might even get the barbel rods out again....

09/09/2010 - River Trent

Was working in the Newark area today, so put the float rod in the car, knocked off at 3 and grabbed a couple of hours of trotting.

Headed to the sand bank at East Stoke again. River level was well up the bank due to the rain earlier in the week and with more of a flow pushing through compared to last visit. Water was gin clear, but I was suprised by the number of leaves that were already coming down. Won't be long before the rivers are full of them! Had to wait a while for the fish to arrive, but when they did it was a bite (but not necessarily a fish) a cast. That was until the breeze picked up and changed direction making it awkward to hold the necessary trotting line. Should have put on a bigger float carrying more shot, but with limited time soldiered on....as you do. Still ended up with a decent mixed bag consisting of predominantly roach, but with some dace, perch, bleak and a couple of gudgeon thrown in.

Nice to see that there were some reasonable silver fish weights in the recent Division One National. Let's hope they continue showing through to the winter.

01/09/10 - River Derwent

Possibly more of an evening to sit in the garden with a cold beer. However, had been in Wales for another week without any fishing, so was itching to go......

Slight smug feeling on discovering an empty carpark soon disappeared upon finding half a dozen lanky youths swimming in the river just upstream of where I wanted to fish. Did consider change of venue, but with the evenings seeming to draw in suprisingly quickly recently I carried on downstream for another 200 metres to where I could see some fish topping. Soon had the trotting rod out and had a couple of baits in the bucket when something decided to make off with the next small fish I was reeling in. It eventually let go and I was left with a very dead, scaleless roach. Thinking a big perch was responsible I set up a paternoster and dropped it in the side. This was away before I'd put the line in the bobbin. Unfortunately, whatever it was soon came off and I was left with another dead, scaleless bait. The 15 to 20 minutes that followed were rather frustrating to say the least. First I had a dropped bait because I forgot to take the bail arm off. Then I had a bite off, followed by two pike that charged up and down and effectively killed off the swim. One was the ugliest thing I'd ever laid eyes on!

A face only a mother could love!

With about an hour of daylight left I took my one remaining bait up to the swim I'd originally intended to fish. However, seems that the pike decided to follow me and I soon had another jack in the net. Having run out of bait I then had a very frustrating half an hour where I couldn't anything apart from minnows and hand size roach! When I did eventually catch a reasonably sized bait it was nearly dark and, whilst I gave it another half an hour, any opportunity for a perch had gone.

Pike seem to be a problem on this section when they weren't before. Can't see any other option but to use wire from now on and hope that it doesn't affect the perch......

17/08/2010 - River Derwent

Headed down to Borrowash again for few hours. Tried different swim to last time, but still in same area. Initially found it hard to catch any bits. Had only had two perch and a gudgeon in the first hour. Light finally dawned that the fish were up in the water, so shallowed up the float, started spraying maggots and soon started catching bleak, roach and chub. First go with the perch paternoster saw a very positive take. Wound down to feel a very heavy fish that didn't seem very perch-like at all! Confirmed when it drew opposite me, then took off like the green, spotty missile that it was, smashing the hooklink in the process. Don't usually suffer from pike trouble on this section of the river, but had another hang onto a roach I was bringing in a bit later. On the perch front, the biggest one of the night at about half a pound had come to the float and it was getting just dark before I had another take on the paternoster. This turned out to be a small perch that had ideas far above it's station. Luckily the chub livebait had been blown up the line and was still ok, so it went straight out into the area where I had been trotting through a few minutes earlier. Didn't even get the line in the bobbin before it was off. This definitely felt like a perch and was soon confirmed to be a specimen of 2lb 3oz. Unfortunately, my first mistake of the night had been to leave the camera at home, so had to make do with a quick piccie on the Blackberry. At least it was enough to show that it was a different fish to last week.

Last gasp 2lber

Was pretty dark by then, so soon discovered my second mistake of the night - my head torch was on the passenger seat of the car having stopped to speak to another angler as he was leaving (he'd had one barbel all day). Eventually made it back to the carpark to find the only other angler on section packing his gear into his boot. He'd fished since 3 o'clock for one bite - a barbel that came off! Seems things aren't getting any easier on the river for the barbs and probably won't do until we get a good flush through.

11/08/10 - River Derwent

First trip after a week down at the in-laws in Pembrokeshire. Didn't have chance to go fishing while we were down there, but did go otter spotting (successfully!) with my lad and helped the father-in-law with the family falconry business (http://www.pembrokeshire-falconry.co.uk/). Was therefore glad to get out on the river again and even more pleased to arrive at Borrowash and find the car park empty. Walked downstream to the section where I'd had a few perch to 2lb 10oz last season. River was low, with gravel bars sticking out that I hadn't seen before and more weed growth than usual. Settled for a swim with lots of marginal vegetation where I thought the perch might be lurking, but with a nice crease at a couple of rod lengths to trot down for bits.

Big perch country?

Soon started catching small chub, bleak and gudgeon on the float, so was able to put a perch paternoster out fairly quickly. Had first take on a small bleak. Felt a smallish fish on the end before it came off. Put the rod out again and didn't have to wait very long before the bait was taken by a perch of about half a pound. Out again with a small roach and this time it was taken by something a bit more substantial. A big clump of blanket weed around the lead made it feel a bit heavier than it actually was, but I was pleased (although I don't look it!) to subsequently land a perch of 2lb 2oz.

Must remember to look at the camera and smile!

Had a couple more takes before the light went. One that came off and another around the half pound mark. Had kept the trotting rod going throughout and ended up with a mixed bag of chub, roach, dace, bleak, gudgeon, skimmers and minnows on the float. Also hooked into something a lot bigger that put a real bend in the rod as it shot off downstream. Unfortunately the size 20 couldn't hold on and the line came back covered in slime suggesting a big bream, or even a tench (had one while fishing lobs for perch last winter!).

28/07/2010 - River Soar

As shown by the photo, my mate is lucky enough to live right next to one of the weirs on the River Soar.

View from the lawn!

Although he is an out and out carper with several fish over 40lb, including two English 50lbers, to his name, he mentioned that he had caught a few barbel from the weirpool. I therefore badgered him incessantly until he agreed to take me on a short evening session. Started off by freelining for some chub that were present in one of the channels between the islands downstream of the weir. Had two small ones in quick succession before we waded over to the main pool, which he'd baited up with a tin of spam earlier. Fishing was pretrty simple - big lumps of meat with just enough lead to hold on the rocky bottom. Then it was just a case of holding the rod and waiting for bites.

Good heron impression.

Unfortunately, apart from a few chubby rattles, those bites never came, so it was a case of back to the house for a cup of tea and a natter! No doubt that fish were there, will just have to try again......

27/07/2010 - River Trent

Had a couple of meetings up Newark direction, so put trotting rod and a few bits and bobs in the car for afterwards. Headed for an area where roach have been showing the last couple of seasons. Swim was on the outside of a bend where the current just started to hit the bank and where the river had been dredged out on the approach to a weir and the spoil dumped on the bank. With a decent depth right off the rod top despite the low river level it was perfect for the stickfloat.

The "sandbank"

Had a fish first trot down and that continued steadily for the next two and a half hours. Ended up with over 60 fish, three quarters of which were roach. Had some nice dace as well, which was encouraging, and a few perch. The "hotspot" seemed to be a depression right in front of me, about a rod length in front of a luncheon meat can that some kind soul had thrown in for a marker (!), the float rarely making it past this point. Definitely a spot to remember for when it cools down and possibly one for the predators as well.

25/07/2010 - River Dove

Mind was made up for me where to go when my mate Tim phoned up and asked if I'd like to join him flyfishing on a syndicate water on the River Dove near Ashbourne. He even offered to provide all the kit to save me digging my own out from where I'd left it several months, or even years, ago! Met him in the carpark later that afternoon and, with the beat to ourselves, we had a leisurely stroll upstream. River was low and clear with a few fish visible in the pools, but none really rising with any great deal of enthusiasm. Those fish that were showing proved to be very cagey.

Tim fishing the "Klink and dink"
Managed to wheedle out one apiece, mine on the tiniest CDC "F-Fly" I'd ever seen and Tim's on a Klinkhammer. It was nice to do something different and may well go back in the winter for the grayling.

23/07/2010 - River Trent

Looked in on the Trent near Beeston on my way home. The swim where I'd had an 11 lb a couple of seasons ago showed some signs of recent habitation, as did the swims on the opposite bank. However, the river looked really low and lacklustre. Further upstream the sandstone slabs were sticking out like ribs, with all the flow pushing down the middle. Margins were gin clear.

Bare bones!

Might drag myself out tomorrow night, but the rate things are going I might have to something drastic like go eel fishing, or God forbid, carping!

16/07/10 - River Derwent

Fact finding trip to the Trent at Newark found it low, clear and "peggy". The fish were there if you knew where to find them - one peg had recently produced catches of 30, 20 and 19 fish. Not suprisingly it was very popular! I am not into hammering fish, so decided on another trip to the Derwent instead. Arrived early evening to find the carpark nicely strimmed and not another soul in it, so had a leisurely wander upstream again. Found a nice near bank crease running down to a shallower, weedy area and promptly put two baits down it. Had a bit of bother with floating rafts of weed, but managed to avoid getting wiped out by slightly re-positioning the rods. Crease was alive with bits and as it got dark there was quite a bit of predator action with bow-waving on the surface and small fish scattering everywhere. That fact got filed away for future reference. Apart from a few chubby rattles, that was the extent of the excitement and I was just about to pack up at around midnight when the right hand rod shot off. Had a bit of a moment when, after losing track of the fish in the dark, I found that it had kited around and was buried in the nearside bank. Thankfully the hook held and another pristine Derwent 6lber was in the net. Fished on for a little bit after that, but my new-found adrenaline-fuelled enthusiasm soon wore off......

30/06/10 - River Derwent

Headed down to Draycott again. Thought I'd cracked it last week - how wrong could I be! There was one other car in the car park when I got there and I could see the occupant settled in downstream on the big bend, so I headed in the opposite direction to where I fished last week. Wasn't really expecting a fish much before dark, but it wasn't until 2320 hrs that the left hand rod finally wrapped round. Up until that point I'd spent a couple of frustrating hours without even a suicidal chub to show for my efforts, despite them trying their hardest to pull the pellets off the hair - the little beggars! Again the fish charged off downstream before doing such an abrupt about turn that I thought I'd lost it. Finally caught up with it almost under my feet where it dogged around in the deep water for a bit. Turned out to be another mint barbel of just under 6lb. They really are in good nick down there. Had a second one just under the 5lb mark within the half hour. Hung on until just after midnight in case there were a few more on the feed but, with work the following morning, that was that.

28/06/10 - Bits and Bobs

I am a big fan of Korum products, always finding them well thought out and reasonably priced (hint, hint Mr Korum....). My latest Korum purchase is a pair of their "Butt Cups" (not plugs as my wife unkindly suggested!).

They are similar to the plastic Solar B-Cups, with a locking ring. Should be ideal for when I have to get the rods up high (I have got a tripod, but prefer the flexibility of rod rests).

Rain didn't come to anything tonight unfortunately........:(

23/06/10 - River Derwent

Another trip to a new section for me, this time on the Derwent near Draycott. Spent an hour having a wander and getting my legs pricked and stung peering over the high banks. Saw plenty of chub amongst the streamer weed, but again barbel were the target. Settled for a swim at the bottom end of a steady section that shallowed up into faster water.

The bailiff came along just after I'd got sorted and my choice of swim was vindicated when he said that a group of barbel usually hung around in the shallows, then moved into the deeper water to feed when it got dark. So it proved, with just a few chubby rattles before sunset. Bailiff had just returned from his rounds at around 1030 pm when the left hand rod shot round resulting in a pristine 8lb 10oz barbel.

First barbel of the season

This one was shortly followed by two more barbel of 8lb 1oz and 7lb 6oz before it all went quiet again, presumably when the rest of the group moved on. All the fish came to Sonubaits 16mm Hali-hookers and were nailed fair and square in the bottom lip or scissors by the size 8 Korda widegape, proving that I'd just been unlucky at Swarkestone. Packed up a happy man at about 1230 am.

21/06/10 - River Trent

First outing on the rivers this season. Headed down to the Trent at Swarkestone hoping for a barbel and ended up at the bottom end of a new section for me. Found a nice spot on the outside of a bend, fishing over the top of streamer weed. Fished away happily for a few hours, only bothered by floating weed (lots of it!), curious and slightly scary cows (given their occasional whim to trample you for fun) and the occasional suicidal chub.

Stupid, but unpredictable!

Wound in the downstream rod as it got dark to concentrate on the other and had a proper wrap around bite shortly afterwards. The fish shot off downstream then stopped, forcing me to haul it back upstream. It was wallowing around feeling heavy and I was just imaging a big old girl with her pectorals spread out against the flow when the hook pulled out. The chub I had earlier had been well and truly nailed by the Korda widegape, so I guess I was unlucky. That was the end of the action as far as I was concerned. Stumbled back to the car avoiding cowpats, having made a mental note to return soon.

The end of the longest day