22/12/2011 - River Soar

Was getting stir crazy from the lack of fishing this month so, with the weather forecast indicating a dry period with an upturn in temperature, I booked the morning off work, dusted off the pike rods and headed for the River Soar near Kegworth. Had done a recce there earlier in the year, so intially headed for a big overhanging tree at the top of the section. Had two float-legered deadbaits out shortly after first light, one up against the tree and the other in the margin in 6 feet of water.

Spot on!

Settled down in the early morning sun and was soon mesmerised by the float tops gently wafting in the current, so much so I nearly nodded off a couple of times! Had just got up for a walk about to wake myself up a bit when the float next to the tree fell flat and then started moving off. Wound down to meet only token resistance and soon had a small jack on the bank.

Where's Grandma?

Put another bait out for half an hour or so but didn't get any further interest, so worked my way back to the car dropping the baits into any likely looking spots. Unfortunately, I failed to trouble the scorer again. If I'd had the whole day to myself I probably would have upped sticks and headed somewhere else. However, come lunchtime I was back home and then reluctantly off to work. 

07/12/2011 - Bits and Bobs

Well, I suppose it had to end sometime - couldn't keep having double figure temperatures in November forever, could we? Did some retail therapy to cheer myself up. First of my early brithday/Christmas presents to myself hit the doormat with a thump last week - the new book from the Perchfishers, "Biggest Fish of All".


After a quick leaf through it looks to be another well-produced book that's sure to become a classic reference like the first one (see http://theperchfishers.org.uk/). I remember getting my copy of the first Perchfishers book from the cheap bookshop on Ashby de la Zouch high street. They had quite a few copies at the time and I wish I'd bought them all given the price they go for now! Had a quick squint at the big perch list at the back of the new book and had a suprise - a 5lb 1oz perch from the River Soar caught in July this year! Must have missed that in the press, but certainly something to aim for!

25/11/2011 - River Soar

Have to say that I really enjoyed this little session. Was out the door at 1215 hrs and was fishing within 45 minutes. Passed a couple of blokes on the way up to the swim. They were sat out in a stiff downstream wind and didn't look too comfortable, so I wasn't suprised when they said that the fishing was "bloody rubbish"! Wasn't put off as I knew where I was headed would be nice and sheltered. Once settled I got the float rod going and was into dace, chub and roach almost straight away. Soon had the paternoster rod nicely positioned at the bottom end of the swim.


Didn't have to wait long, but it wasn't what I was hoping for - a micro jack not much bigger than the bait! Had two more of these annoyances before I got a perch, but even that had eyes bigger than its belly.


Had been keeping the float rod going all this time and had increased my species count to seven with some bleak and gudgeon when the float buried and I was connected to something considerably bigger. By the head banging I knew it was a decent perch. Got taken over the other side of the river and back and had a heart-stopping moment when it dived into some reeds, but it was soon safely in the net - a dark, strongly coloured fish of 2lb 2oz and easily my biggest perch on "conventional" tackle.

First Soar 2lber

Carried on with the float rod until it was too dark to see. Added a small bream and a couple of minnows to push up the species count to nine. Left the paternoster rod in a bit longer, but apart from an aborted take (probably another micro pike!) that was it. As I said at the start, an enjoyable session just in terms of the number and type of fish caught. The river certainly seems healthy enough given that flows have been so low all year. The big perch was a bonus, but with just a bit of food for thought in that it came on red maggot. Might be time to bring out the lobs!

20/11/2011 - Trent and Mersey Canal

Arranged to meet Tim for another go for the zander on the canal, although he was still on Sunday lunch duty when I arrived. Set up to one side of the "hotspot" so he could slot in the other. Was fishing hair-rigged deadbait sections again, but this time with the addition of a Fox bait flag to stop the wire pulling through the bait.

Modified hair rig

Had got one rod in and was tackling up the other when the buzzer sounded. That was quick!Turned out to be a small, but perfectly formed zander.

Zed in a hurry!

Was expecting a few runs after this, but didn't get any other indications until Tim arrived. He'd just dropped his gear next to me when one and then the other bobbin started doing a jerky little dance. Although neither developed into a full blown take, we joked that it must be the aura of his golden globes attracting the fish. Unfortunately this turned out to be bang on the money as my bobbins never moved again! Tim, on the other hand, did a canal predator treble starting with a pike of 11lb, followed by a nice perch of 2lb 6oz and finally a zed.

Predator #2

Fished on for a couple more hours into dark without any further action.

As an interesting footnote to these zander trips, Tim dug out a paper recently on a study of zander in the Oxford Canal, a graph from which is shown below.

Basically, in the zander populated section of canal, anything they can get in their mouths gets a right hammering and in some cases this can mean whole year (size) classes. Ultimately this will have a knock-on effect on the rest of the predator population, so it could be a case of making hay while the sun shines!

11/11/2011 - River Derwent

I always seem to lose focus and struggle a bit at this time of year. It seems such a huge step change when the clocks go back, with that lost hour making all the difference. No more crafty afternoon sessions after work. Instead, everything has to be meticulously planned to make best use of my remaining annual leave, so it's annoying when a trip doesn't deliver the goods. Such was the case with the latest session on the Derwent. Forecast was for the best weather of the week. However, as it turned out it was cold, drizzly, never got light all day and yet again there was that annoying upstream wind. The saving grace was that the conditions didn't stop the silver fish feeding, with a mixed bag of roach, dace, chub, bleak and gudgeon coming to the float rod. It was the predators that didn't show. Had two paternoster rods out for the last two hours, but didn't get a sniff. Not even a suicidal jack or greedy perchlet. Just about said it all when I wound in one of the rods to pack up to find a bare hook and realised I'd probably been fishing for half an hour without any bait! Still, there's always retail therapy to cheer oneself up and I'm particularly finding myself drawn into the world of rubber! I recently got some great looking shads off Allan Mee at http://www.agmdiscountfishing.co.uk/. They're the 3" Big Hammers (the bottom one in the picture is a great minnow imitation and will get an outing on the Derwent when the weed dies down).

A three pack of rubbers please
Also splashed out on some larger crayfish imitations that will hopefully get me a bigger fish or two on the River Soar, which is now riddled with signal crayfish. At a few quid per packet and the same for the worm hooks and jig heads they make far more economical sense than an extortionately priced piece of Japanese plastic!

Eat me!

Did have some good news at the weekend. Tim reported that the zander on the canal were still feeding well, so hopefully it'll back to normal service and a few fish on the bank soon!

Tim with the best fish of a recent session

23/10/2011 - River Derwent

A rare weekend outing, but thought I'd make the best of the mild weather and got a pass out for the afternoon. Headed for Borrowash, the scene of my  recent perch brace. Had a bit of suprise when I got there. The carpark was unlocked, but completely devoid of any other anglers. Was therefore able to stroll down at leisure knowing that the area I wanted to fish would be free. Had changed a lot in appearance since last time. All of the Himalyan Balsam had either died down or been eaten by the sheep, so the banks seemed very open, but could still see the weed beds in the margins. Set up in the usual spot, which turned out to be a good thing in one respect. Saw something glinting in the silt and pulled out a pair of my glasses that I must have dropped last session! Bit brown with algae, but otherwise fine.


The strong, gusty (but warm) upstream wind played hell with the float rod, but luckily the bleak didn't seem to mind my rubbish presentation and I soon had a few in the bucket. Expecting things to be a bit slower, I forced myself to put the float rod away and set up two paternosters. Had two finnicky, dropped takes on each rod before I had my first proper take. Turned out to be a perch of 1lb 15oz, possibly a recapture as I've had three near this weight out of the same swim.


Went a bit quiet after this, so the next take came out of the blue and made me jump! Wound down to feel something solid on the end that took off at a rate of knots downstream. After a bit of tussle (during which I was praying for the other rod not to go off!), I had a long, lean pike of 11lb 8oz in the net. 

Lean and mean

Two greedy little perch of about 3/4 lb followed before it got dark. Suspect it won't be too long now before the weed dies down and the big perch go off to their winter haunts.

21/10/2011 - Trent and Mersey Canal

Met up with Tim again for a late afternoon/evening session on the Trent and Mersey Canal near Burton upon Trent for another bash at the zander. Arrived to find that we'd been beaten to the "prime" peg opposite the marina entrance by a matter of minutes by a husband and wife team, so dropped in a bit further up, trying our best to avoid the huge piles of dog eggs littering the towpath. Soon had various deadbaits positioned upstream and downstream. Tim got out his whip and his bread punch and was soon doing a passable imitation of a matchman, pulling out some clonking roach from the very first trot down. The deadbait rods, however, remained silent. Had to do the "zander hokey-cokey" a few times for passing barges. The last one was a hire boat that came in diagonally through our swims and pulled up just the other side of Tim, whereupon a chap jumped off and started hammering mooring pegs into the bank. Don't you just love 'em?! Saw matey down at the marina peg catch a couple of decent pike, but it wasn't until it was fully dark that we had our first fish in the net, a perch of about a pound to Tim (yet another one on deadbait). At about 7 o'clock the crew from the hire boat decided to go for tea at the pub and just as they walked past my left hand rod the alarm stuttered into life. Was quickly onto it and felt a reasonable fish kicking on the end. Turned out to be our target species and just as Tim was netting it my other rod shot off. Hit that one as well and soon had another, smaller zander in the net alongside the first.  

Quick fire brace

Got the rods back out quickly hoping that was a sign that the zander were on the prowl, but it went quiet again. The only other action was a pike of about 6lb to Tim. He seems to be developing a relationship with this fish, recognisable by a distinctive sore on one flank, as he has managed to catch it now on three different trips from three different spots! At 8.30 pm, having had no further indications, we packed up and walked back to the car through the dog egg minefield. Unfortunately, a strange smell in the car and a quick check when I got home revealed that I hadn't emerge unscathed!    

13/10/2011 - River Soar

Had intended to go for a perch session on the Derwent. However, it was the colour of chocolate when I dropped in at Borrowash, so it was a quick 10 mile trip over the other side of the M1 to the River Soar at Kegworth instead. Had just started to walk up to the top of the section when I happened to glance downstream. There was quite a bit of fish activity on the bottom meadow and time was ticking on, so I turned around and down headed there instead. Set up in a nice little bay with a willow downstream and a bed of "whips" upstream. First trot down with the float rod saw a roach on, which was quickly transferred to the paternoster rod. This was placed just off the willow. Carried on trotting and was soon catching roach and perch, most of which were too large to comfortably use as bait. Wasn't long before the paternoster rod was away, resulting in a feisty little jack.


A new bait dropped into the same spot saw a rapid take from another small pike that looked me in the eye and then spat a very mangled roach back at me. Third cast and it was away again. Pike! This one stayed on, but tail-walked straight into the bank and had to be extricated from the vegetation. Bites on the float rod had not suprisingly dried up by now, so I moved upstream and re-positioned the paternoster alongside the reed bed. Again, it was only in a few minutes before it was away, resulting in.......yet another pike. Had one bait left by now, which was put back into the same area. It had just started to get dark when the bobbin dropped off. I've caught enough perch using braid now to know when I've got a decent one on. This was such a time. Unfortunately, I never got to see it as it came off! "Oh dear!" or words to that effect. Again, the pike were good fun on the light gear, but it was annoying to lose that fish. Worth another go.

09/10/2011 - North Devon

Headed down to Saunton, North Devon last weekend with the lads for our bi-annual surfing trip. Unfortunately, the same miserable conditions that knocked the surfing on the head also ruined any chance I might have had of catching a bass this time. Had arranged to meet up with Joel Squires, aka "Joel Soul", on the Sunday for another lure session. Joel was optimistic and things looked good as we walked out to the rock mark near Woolacombe in the first light. However, after waiting patiently for the tide to recede and allow us down onto the rocks, we only had a few casts before the rising swell forced us off again. A trip to a different mark on the north coast in the afternoon saw better conditions early on, but the swell, the wind (and two lost plugs!) again proved too much. Thanks to Joel for trying. It'll be third time lucky I'm sure.

Plugging away

06/10/2011 - Trent and Mersey Canal

Met up with Tim again for another evening bash at the zander on the Trent and Mersey Canal. In contrast to the tree-lined section at Stretton, the spot we were fishing this time was pretty featureless apart from the marina entrance directly in front of us. When we arrived there was a clear difference in the water clarity in the marina and in the canal, visible in the photograph below. 



I set up to the left of the entrance and Tim to the right. The boat traffic had near enough died down to nothing, so we were able to put a rod each into the entrance itself and another slightly to the side. I stuck to deadbait sections on a hair rig with a size 6 single, whilst Tim fished whole, lip-hooked baits. My deadbaits had been in literally 5 minutes when the rod up the channel signalled a take, resulting in a small zander. Just as I'd returned it the left hand rod was away. This time it was decent perch with a liking for a bleak tail section.  


Stripey - the deadbait is to the left

A couple of missed runs followed, then it was quiet until about 6.45 pm. Over the next 15 minutes we had 6 runs, resulting in five zander. My first was my largest from the canal so far, whilst the second one was the smallest and had a pike hot on its heels as I drew him into the bank! 

Getting bigger

Tim had three in quick succession, including the biggest of the night at about 3lb.

Best so far

By this time it was fully dark and, as the wind dropped, we could see that the area in front of us was absolutely packed with silver fish, the surface of the canal erupting periodically as unseen predators piled into them. With so much fresh food in the larder, the action on the deadbaits slowed right down, with only a handful of runs over the next two hours. Tim was unlucky to lose what looked to be a very good fish when his trace failed near the hook (no comment, mate!). A zander finally came to my rod at 9 pm giving us hope that we'd be in for a late flurry, but with nothing else subsequently happening we were packed and away at 9.30. 

04/10/2011 - River Soar

A quick trip with the lure rod and some "rubbers" after work. Headed up to the main weir, but found the river to be painfully low and clear. It was interesting to see all of the normally unseen debris in the weir pool, including a section of metal railings and the fence post I snapped a rod on earlier in the year! However, failed to tempt or even spot a single fish. Therefore moved downstream and bumped a crayfish along the face of the side weir off the canal where there was a bit more depth and flow. Second cast I had a solid take off a perch that put up a good scrap in the current. 

Crayfish muncher

Worked downstream, bumped a couple of fish and had another perch follow the lure. Tried to tempt a chub from one of the side channels, but nothing doing, so I headed for the lock. Bumped a fish first cast down the channel, then had another perch a few casts later. Tried a few more spots, but that was the sum total of the action. River looks really lacklustre at the moment. Dare I say it? We need rain!

28/09/2011 - River Derwent

Headed for the Derwent on a sweltering hot afternoon. River was low with a tricky upstream wind in the spot I wanted to fish, but it was on with the chest waders and into my "hole". Soon had the bleak going and was getting into a nice rythmn - overcast, spray maggots, wind the float back, strike! Perch paternoster went down the side as usual. Had been fishing for an hour before it was away, resulting in a perch of 1lb 15oz. Good start. Little while later it was away again. This time it felt solid and definitely pikey, but the hook pulled a few seconds into the fight. Put a bait out to the same spot and it was taken before I could pick up the float rod. "Pike", I thought and was proven right with a jack about 5lb, hooked right in the scissors by the size 6 Korum S3.

The next two casts went to the same spot and resulted in two more pike almost instantly - they must have been lining up! First one was again around 5lb, whilst the second was about 8lb and charged around all over the place, going around my front rod rest at one point. Had a bit of a lull after this and was on the phone to the wife about an hour later when the paternoster rod went off again. This was unmistakeably a perch. Got it in the landing net, saw it was a definite 2lber, but put a fresh bait straight out before I did anything else. Turned out to be one of my better decisions. Was just getting ready with the weigh sling when the micron signalled another take. Dropped the first perch back in the landing net, then landed an even bigger one next to it! Next few minutes were a bit of a blur, my tackle was in a right mess and I had two stonking perch in the net. Took a second to calm down and did the honours with the scales. First one went 2lb 13oz.  

Best from the Derwent.....not for long!

The next one was a lump and went 3lb 3oz - a new personal best.

Shell shocked!

To say that I was over the moon was an understatement. It was pitch black by now and my gear was in total disarray, so I stuffed it into my bag best I could and floated back to the car!

Brace shot

22/09/2011 - Trent and Mersey Canal

With zander cropping up on various blogs, I thought I'd get in on the act. I haven't fished for zander since the fens in the mid-90's so, whilst I wasn't expecting the same sort of stamp of fish, just to catch one after all that time would be nice. 

A long, long time ago in Cambridgshire!

Therefore met up with my mate Tim on a nice, tree-lined section of the Trent and Mersey Canal near Burton after work. Previous intelligence gathering had indicated that there were plenty of small zander averaging 3lb in the area, but with the chance of the odd bigger one. Soon had two small, hair-rigged deadbaits cast out into likely looking gaps in the far bank vegetation. Would have preferred a longer drop on my bobbins, but had to compromise and sink the rod tip to combat the amount of leaves and general rubbish floating down the canal. Tim had done his usual job of arriving completely unprepared, but was at least able to cobble together a float rig that he dropped in the bay opposite us.

Waiting for a Zed

Tim was actually first in the action with a couple of jacks. I missed my first take, but connected with the second only to find that it was also a small pike. The next take felt a bit more like a zander, but turned out to be a perch with a liking for a roach tail section! Next take was again from a pike. Tim in the meantime had got out his whip to catch some more bait and had added a couple of ruffe. Seems we were only missing a zander for the full set. Didn't have to wait much longer. A stuttering take on the downstream rod resulted in a small, but perfectly formed canal zander that was hooked well inside the mouth by the size 6 single.

Mini Zed

The next couple of hours saw plenty of interest in the baits and at least four proper runs that I managed to miss. Finally connected with another fish just after Tim had left for the chippy, a second zander of about pound and a half. Carried on for a bit longer, missed another run, but had to give in to my own stomach in the end. An interesting session and one that re-inforced how frustrating it can be fishing for these things.

21/09/2011 - River Soar

Became aware this season that there were quite a few signal crayfish in my local section of the Soar, so had bought some rubber crayfish lures to try out on the pike, perch and chub, just hadn't had chance to use them until now. Got my lures and worm hooks from a very helpful Allan Mee at www.agmdiscountfishing.co.uk. Won't go into great detail on the rig as it's pretty self explanatory from the photo, but for more information look up the following site http://www.weedlesslures.co.uk/how-to-use.

Rigged and ready to go

Headed up to the weirpool at the top of the section to start with. River was slightly up following the recent rain and had a bit of a peaty stain to it, but clarity was good. Second cast down the side of the pilings I had a positive thump as I dinked the lure off the bottom, resulting in a jack of about 6lb.

Pike like crayfish

A couple of casts later I had another take right next to the pilings. This time the thumping on the other end of the line signalled a decent perch. However, didn't actually get to see it as it came off a few seconds into the fight. A check of the hook showed that the pike had opened it up slightly and I'd failed to notice it. Doh! Had a few more casts into the pool, but there was nothing more forthcoming, so moved down to the lock. First cast up up the channel towards the gates resulted in a scrappy little perch. As I brought him to the surface I could see several more following him. Carried on the same spot and had three of his shoal mates before they had enough.

Perch like crayfish too

Carried on downstream, dropping the lure into any chubby looking spots. Had a few more bangs and knocks, but didn't connect with anything else. Will have to go back and go for the "treble" another time.  

16/09/2011 - River Derwent

Headed back to Borrowash for another short perch session. Arrived at about 4.30 pm to find conditions a bit more difficult than last week, with a strong upstream wind making trotting in the low flow slightly tricky. However, didn't take long for the bleak to arrive again and a perch paternoster was duly dropped in the side to await proceedings. Carried on trotting and was soon catching the usual variety of species, including bleak, roach, gudgeon, chub and dace, with the latter being a nice "hand-sized" stamp of fish.

I'd be happy catching these all day

After about half an hour the perch rod bent over as something took the bait. Other than feeling half-decent, I wasn't sure what I had on as the fish decided to swim towards me. As it drew level with me I leaned backwards for the landing net. Unfortunately, the BIG pike attached to the other end of my line chose this moment to set off for the other side of the river like a torpedo, taking me by suprise and smashing my 8lb wire hooklink in the process. "Oh dear", I said quietly to myself! Carried on catching bits, but didn't have anything else on the perch rod until there was a change in the weather. Wind started blowing downsteam and it suddenly got very gloomy. That seemed to be the trigger for a stuttering take, resulting in a perch of just under a pound. He must have had his mates in tow because I caught three more of similar size in the following three casts, the piscatorial equivalent of being mugged by a bunch of hoodies! Was disappointed following this brief and hectic spell that I didn't have any further action on the perch rod, although I enjoyed trotting and catching bits for as long as I could see the float. Left the swim to the slugs at around 8 pm.

You're lucky I'm not chub fishing!

09/09/2011 - River Derwent

First session back on the rivers after a long summer holiday in France and Wales. Failed dismally to catch my first bass. Next opportunity is North Devon in October, so fingers crossed. Anyway, September is usually the time I start fishing for the predators so, with that in mind, I headed for the Derwent at Borrowash. Arrived to find my favourite swim completely overgrown. No worries, at least I knew nobody had fished it recently!

It's in there somewhere!

Tackled up the rods, put everything to hand on the bank and took up position in the water. Second trot down with the float rod I had a bleak. This went straight on the perch paternoster, which was cast down the side to my right. I didn't even have time to put another maggot on the hook before the perch rod started bouncing in the rests. Looked up to see a commotion on the surface as something hit the bait. Wound into what I thought was a small pike at first, but soon had my first Derwent perch of the season in the net. Was a very hollow fish of 1lb 14oz that should easily go over 2lb in better condition.


Carried on trotting and was soon catching a procession of bleak, small chub, gudgeon, roach and the occasional clonking dace. However, had to wait another hour for some more action on the perch rod. Another very positive take, resulting in a fish of 2lb 2oz (some people have spoken about their "bogey weight" for perch, well 2lb 2oz seems to be mine!).

First 2lber of the season

Had another run soon afterwards, but the fish dropped the bait. Hopefully a small one! With about half an hour of light left I wound in the float and concentrated on the perch rod. Had one last take before it got dark. Unfortunately it was a jack of about 8lb, which gave me a good scrap on the light gear. Took that as an opportune moment to pack up. Not a bad start and definitely good to be back!

17/07/2011 - River Trent

Had a text from my friend Stuart. He'd been fishing muddy puddles the last few weekends with his father-in-law and fancied a change, so I suggested we try the LEVAS section of the Trent near Long Eaton. Got there about 6.30 pm to find it grey, blustery, wet and cold. Our wisdom on going fishing that evening was further called into question shortly after casting out. The weed situation was horrendous! Even with a 3 ounce lead and a big bow in the line, it was about 15 minutes before everything started to drag out of position, with line coming back in festooned with green snot that gave absolutely no confidence in bait presentation. Amazingly, we'd been there about an hour when Stuart appeared at the top of the bank with an absolute lump, a new PB of 12lb 12oz, which had taken a 21mm halibut pellet out in mid-river. Unfortunately, both of us had forgotten our cameras, so it was a quick snap on the Blackberry that really didn't do it justice.

Happy man!

Fished on with renewed enthusiasm, but the weed situation didn't improve and we packed up about 10.30 pm. Taking everything into account, it was a miracle that one fish decided to pick up a bait. Stuart's going to be buying my Euromillions ticket for me this week!

River Soar - 13/07/2011

Finally twigged after scrutinising some photographs and doing some legwork that most, if not all, the barbel caught on this section have come from one particular swim. Needless to say, I haven't been fishing it! Made me feel better in one respect, but a bit stupid for not realising earlier. It is pretty obvious when you think about it......low water levels, high temperature?

I therefore set off to Kegworth with one thing in mind, only to find that somebody else'd had the same idea! Luckily they were just about packing up, so I was able to drop in the swim and was fishing by 8 pm. Dropped the first rod down the side, but then went to re-position it to find that it was snagged. A bit of pressure and the snag moved and the end of what looked like a wooden fence post appeared above the water. Unfortunately, at this point there was a loud "crack" and the rod snapped cleanly just above the first ring on the top section. "Oh dear", I said. I glumly postioned my other rod and sat down to await proceedings.

Lee, the bailiff, turned up and wasn't really suprised that I'd sussed out "the" swim. He was confident I was going to catch and hung on as long as he could just in case. He'd actually been gone about half an hour when the rod top finally banged over and I was into a scrap with a fish that just dogged around under my feet. It looked like a double in the net, but I had to settle for 9lb 12oz on the scales. Not that I was complaining about my first River Soar barbel!

Pressure's off!

Bits and Bobs - 12/07/2011

Hopefully going eel fishing with my friend Dai in the not too distant future. Thought it would be a good idea to bone up a bit on the subject, so reached for my copy of "Coarse Fishing for Beginners" by Kenneth Mansfield.

Gold dust!

Ignoring the picture on the cover of a surly youth (wearing a velvet jacket??) with two dead 1lb + roach at his feet, I turned to the chapter on eels. Two passages immediately jumped out at me.

"When you deliberately set out to catch eels you must forget most of the rules that govern ordinary fishing. Tackle must be strong, and there is no question of playing an eel gently: it must be brought to land as quickly as possible. Nor are there any ethics about putting them back. The more eels you kill the more everyone with any interest in the water will be pleased".


"As soon as you feel a fish reel in as quickly as possible without pause. Drag the eel up the bank on to level ground and put the sole of your shoe on it an inch or two behind the head. Keep the line taut. With your knife (which should be ready to hand) cut through the backbone just behind the head but do not sever the head completely".

How times have changed. Now where did I put that knife.....?

River Soar - 06/07/2011

Think I'll rename this blog "Breamland". You can guess what's coming....

Third short evening session after my first River Soar barbel. Nobody on the section, so fished downstream of the weir again. Came this time armed with boilies to try and avoid the chub and bream. Worked in one respect, but not the other. Had one rod out in the flow and the other down the side under a tree. It was this one that shot off first. Picked up the rod to feel the fish briefly before it all went slack. Wound in to find that the boilie had flipped over the top of the hook on the cast. Oh, for the want of a small piece of silicon tubing! Wound in the other rod and re-tied the rigs before sending the baits out again. Was still getting chubby rattles, but was confident that the little beggars at least couldn't pull the boilie off. However, had to wait until it was almost dark for the next "proper" bite, this time a stuttering take that meant one thing.....bream. Had another one on the same rod before it went too dark to see (I had forgotten my torch!). At least they're getting bigger.

YOU'VE got the hump?

Farm Pond - 01/07/2011

Had promised to take my lad, James, fishing on his Inset Day. A farmer I know had said that I could go fishing on his pond, promising carp, bream and "millions" of tench, so it seemed a good opportunity to have a recce. Got down there for about 9 am to find a couple of locals already there. Fishing was reported as slow, put down to the drop in temperature overnight. However, undaunted, I set James up with the float rod and got him fishing on the bottom of the marginal shelf, a couple of rod lengths out.

Fish on!

I had intended to fish myself, but it didn't really pan out that way as fishing with an excitable 11 year old is a bit of a full on experience! Apart from me having to continuously re-bait, spray maggots, untangle knots and retrieve hooks from bankside vegetation, he had a bite a cast. Mini perch followed mini perch, with the occasional mini rudd thrown in for variety.
It was mid-afternoon before the float buried and he found himself attached to something more substantial, a nice little common carp.

Best of the day.

Two more followed before we had to pack up. A good day for the lad, but don't know where those "millions" of tench got to!

River Soar - 28/06/2011

Another quick session on the Soar at Kegworth and almost a carbon copy of my previous one in terms of numbers and species of fish caught. Dropped downstream a bit into some slightly deeper water, but with a nice flow pushing along the far bank.

I wish that was my garden over there!

Baits were out by 7.15 pm and the rod tips were soon rattling to the tune of Mr Chublet. The bailiff, Lee, turned up and as we were chatting the left rod started nodding. Sitting higher up the bank he saw the fish first and was able to give me the good news that it was a bream! Had a couple of chublets fairly quickly after that, one of which was good enough to throw up a load of crushed halibut pellets all over my leg. Another bream just as it was getting dark didn't shake the confidence, so when the left hand rod pulled over again I was sure it was going to be a barbel. Unfortunately not! Biggest snotty of the night instead, about 6lb.

Not you again!

Packed up just after 11 pm after no further action. Think a change of bait is in order. The barbel are there, I just need to avoid those bream!

Bits and bobs - 23/06/2011

Am looking forward to three weeks in France in the summer and am hoping to break my bass duck at some point. Have therefore been on the lookout for a "proper" bass lure rod that didn't break the bank (or was red!). Think I found the answer in the Daiwa Powermesh X-Spin. Received one in the post today. It's a fantastic looking, light and whippy rod.


RRP for the 9' version is £110, but Mark at Alderney Angling (http://www.alderneyangling.com/) sorted me out one for £97.98 including VAT and postage, which was a still couple of quid less than the cheapest one I could find on the UK mainland. Can't wait for August now!

River Soar - 22/06/2011

Another short evening session, this time on the Soar at Kegworth. Slogged up to the new section downstream of the weir. Suprised to find I had the whole stretch to myself, so picked a swim where the flow was pushing along a bit of cover on the far bank.


As the river was quite clear and shallow I opted to fish straight leads and catapult pellets over the top, rather than to repeatedly cast with a feeder or PVA bags. Baits had only been out a couple of minutes before I started getting wound up by the chub rattling on the rod tops. Had been tempted into striking into thin air a couple of times before I decided to change the rigs around slightly. Changed to a semi-fixed lead by pushing the swivel over a Korda tail rubber and wrapped the hair around the hook a couple of times, so that the pellets were hard up against the bend. Seemed to do the trick as the next few bites were converted into fish. First up was a bream of about 5 lb. Not what I was expecting in the fast water.


Next up was one of the greedy little chublets that had probably been responsible for those earlier "doinks" on the rod tips.


His slightly bigger brother was next, followed by another snotty. Went quiet after this, but I was really confident of a barbel as it got dark. Unfortunately it never happened. Packed up about 11pm.