26/01/2012 - River Soar

Had another half-day's worth of flexi in the bag, so went through the 0600 hrs patio routine again. Conditions looked good. It had just stopped raining, the sky was beginning to clear and there was just a light wind. With the weather forecast to turn cold again in the afternoon, it was now or never. Made the wife a cup of tea, jumped in the car and was in the first swim at first light. The river didn't appear to have been touched by the recent rain, although there may have been just a hint of colour. Put both rods out in the channel given the lack of action in the margins last week. Seemed to be a good decision as by 0930 hrs I'd had four runs, resulting in two fish, both around 7lb (there seems to be so many of this size about that I think I'm going to have to use the old kidnapper's trip of including a copy of the daily paper in my photos just to show they've been caught on different days!).

It's a different one....honest!

Had the river to myself again, so was able to leapfrog downstream as usual. Sun had come out by now and the wind had dropped to virtually nothing. Didn't seem to put the fish off as I continued to pick up a couple at a time as I moved downstream. River was almost glassy at times, with the slightest interest in the bait down below being magnified by rings spreading 'round the float.


Unfortunately, it didn't last as the wind picked up towards the end of the morning, blowing straight downstream and dragging the floats under, so when it started spitting with rain at about 1215 hrs I called it a day. Just as well. As I drove away it absolutely chucked it down with hailstones! Ended the session with 7 pike between 5 and 8lb (one even came complete with a spare trace!). Whilst it was good fun, I may now have to decide whether to persevere here in the hope that a "biggie" turns up, or go elsewhere.

19/01/2012 - River Soar

Set the alarm for six so I could judge the conditions before committing my hard-earned flexi-time. Wandered downstairs and outside onto the patio to find it wasn't a.) freezing, or b.) windy. Good enough for me! Loaded up and headed off for the same section of the River Soar I fished last week. Got there just as it was getting light and wandered up to my starting point, spotting a few fish topping around the boats as I did so. Hopefully a good sign? Dropped float-legered deadbaits down the side and in the middle as before. Fished "to the clock", leap-frogging the upstream rod downstream every 15-20 minutes. Was an hour into this when the float in the channel set off towards the boats on the far bank, resulting in a nicely marked, fat fish about 7lb (it's already looking as if there's quite a few of this size about!).

Fatty 2

Wind had started to gust by now and was blowing straight in my face. The sky had also cleared. The resulting bright and sunny conditions probably weren't the best for deadbaiting in a clear river. However, continued leap-frogging the rods downstream and had nearly reached the bottom of the section when a chap walked up with a lure rod. Exchanged pleasantries and then watched him disappear around the corner, thrashing the water to no avail as he went. About an hour later he walked past again with nothing to report. He'd been gone 5 minutes and I was just contemplating my final move when the float on the mackerel rod bobbed and trundled off. Hit the fish, got it into the margins and briefly saw a spotty flank before it "unhooked" itself. Bugger! Popped a fresh bait on and dropped it in the same spot in case he had some mates with him. Didn't have to wait long as a few minutes later off it went again. This time it stayed on, but was just a small jack. Unfortunately work was calling by now, so packed up and yomped back to the car where I caught sight of myself in the relection in the window. My face was even redder than last week. Thankfully, it had calmed down a bit by the time I got to the office!

12/01/2012 - River Soar

Managed to put enough flexi-time together to have a morning off, so headed to a deep, navigable section of the Soar reputed to be a holding area for pike in the winter. Amazed myself by actually getting up when the alarm clock said so and getting to the venue well before first light. Twenty years ago that sort of thing wouldn't have been any problem at all - Tim and I used to religiously drive over to Lincolnshire most weekends to fish the drains around Spalding, leaving Nottingham in the pitch black at stupid o'clock in the morning. Things were so much easier then! No kids, loads of free time, understanding partners......Anyway, at the venue I tackled up in the gloom and plumbed the depth - 10 feet in the margins and about 13 feet in the channel. Baited up the margin rod with a joey and dropped it in the side.


Was trying to put the line in the drop-off clip, but it kept falling back. Happened a couple of times before I realised that I'd already got a fish on. Doh! Soon had a pike about 9lb in the net and it wasn't even fully light. Must have dropped the bait right on its nose. I try not to build up my hopes up when this sort of thing happens, but if I'd had any expectation that I was going to bag up from this point it was dashed by the following fishless two hours, which was punctuated by some squally showers that sent me running back to the car for a waterproof. Kept busy by leapfrogging the rods downstream, one in the middle and one down the side. It was the float out in the channel that eventually headed off towards Kegworth, resulting in a fat 7lber that had taken a small herring.


Had one further take on the margin rod another hour later, again a 6-7 lber, this time on a roach. Packed up about mid-day. Although it had brightened up, the wind had switched around and was blowing almost directly upstream, putting quite a chop on the river. Had a very red face when I got home!     

04/01/2012 - River Soar

First "session" of the year. Well, more a snatched hour at lunchtime and really an excuse to try out a new lure outfit. Had decided that my existing gear was a bit too heavy to get the best out of the rubber lures I've been buying, so invested my Christmas money in a 7ft Okuma Hexana spinning rod with a 5-20 g casting weight, paired with an Okuma Trio FD reel (buying them as an outfit from Glasgow Angling Centre saved about £50). First opportunity to try them out was on the River Soar at Kegworth. Cast a 3" Big Hammer rubber shad (the baby bass pattern is a great minnow imitation) around the houseboat and the barges moored at the bottom of the section. Could feel the tail throbbing away nicely through the rod tip. Didn't have anything after the first few casts so, given the cold weather, slowed it right down until the shad was tripping bottom. A few more casts, then bang! A nice fat perch and job done. Five minutes later I was back in the car and out of the wind.

That's the rod christened then!

Made me feel a bit better about things after getting bogged down and having only one trip to my name in December. At least we're on the right side of winter now - those extra couple of minutes of daylight each day seem to make all the difference. Sessions after work will soon be a reality again, but the lure outfit will certainly be staying in the car for those opportune moments. Happy New Year!