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