27/06/2012 - River Soar

Another meeting in Leicester, so another opportunity to snatch a couple of hours on the way home. Dropped in at Kegworth again and headed up to the weirpool at the top of the section. Whilst still above normal level, the clarity was good and well worth a go, especially given that thunderstorms were forecast for the next day. Rigged up a crayfish and started hopping it across the bottom of the pool. Was probably into the 'teens in terms of number of casts when I had a definite clonk on the end of the line and tightened up into a fish.....yes, a fish! It did it's best in the flow to elude me and a bit if tail waving convinced me I'd got my first chub on a crayfish, but it turned out to be a jack with a liking for seafood.

Cray muncher

Swapped the crayfish for a shad and worked my way downstream, dropping it into any likely spots, but got to the tail of the island without any further action, so went and had a few casts upstream of the Deep Lock. Again, the weed growth meant the shad was out of the question, so it was on with the Magic Swimmer. However, even this was coming back trailing weed, so tossed it up into the lock itself before moving on. Happened to see a perch with eyes much bigger than its belly following it back on the retrieve so changed yet again, this time to a dropshot rig. Worked down the lock - casting over to the far side, "shaking" the lure, then lifting the rig so it swang into the near bank and repeating. Had done this a couple of times when the tip pulled down and I was into my first perch.

First to the "dropshot"

Winkled out a couple more of his mates before I got to the end of the lock cutting. Moved downstream onto the main river having rigged up the crayfish again. Had a couple of tentative pulls before I had another proper clonk as I hopped the cray past the base of a willow. The fish snagged me almost immediately. Again, I thought it would be a chub as that's the sort of underhand thing a chub would do. However, after wading out and putting some pressure on to get it out of the cabbages it was stuck in, I was suprised to see a big, spiny dorsal and a deep, stripey flank. Stepped backwards as the fish started to move out into the river and.........the hook pulled out. That was the last act, but headed home at least having caught something for a change! 

24/06/2012 - Beeston/Nottingham Canal

A frustrating month to say the least. With my fishing tackle spread between the garden shed, the attic and the boot of my car (the garage having been taken away in preparation for a house extension), I was relying on a spot of lure fishing to fill the gaps. However, the unsettled weather had prevented me from even doing that. A trip down to Burton to meet Tim had ended abruptly as I arrived. In fact I didn't even bother getting out of the car, such was the ferocity of the wind, rain and hail (!) that rolled in from the South. So, after dropping off the daughter at Nottingham Tennis Centre for her lesson, I decided to make the best of an opportunity and headed to the Beeston/Nottingham Canal. Arrived to find it tonking through and pretty coloured from the rain (the canal comes straight off the River Trent only a mile or so upstream) and boat movements.

Down the cut

Wasn't too put off as I thought I had a good chance by fishing the dropshot and holding it in the many little slacks and holes in the far bank reeds and lily pads. Was using a Zoom 4" Fluke in pearl on a size 2 standout hook.

The rig - simples!

The theory worked in practice. The action of the lure just from subtle twitches of the rod top looked fantastic. Unfortunately the fish - if they were there - didn't respond and my hour and a half window I had left before I had to pick up the girl again soon evaporated. Back to the drawing board..........

06/06/2012 - North Devon & Pembrokeshire

Had a couple more opportunites for a lure-caught bass. Firstly, met up with Joel Squires, aka "Joel Soul" for a social in North Devon. Went to one of his marks near Saunton for the last couple of hours before high tide. Conditions looked good, but we couldn't get a sniff at the first spot, despite going through the lure box, so moved up to the point.

Shiney, but any good?

Again, nothing much happened until a couple of leaping mackerel heralded the arrival of a Grey Seal and probably the end of our chances of a fish from this spot. However, at this point a decent wrasse glided over the rocks under my feet, so it was on with a texas-rigged senko, but even this failed to get a response. Eventually wandered back to the first spot, where we had a few more casts as the tide dropped away again. A shout from Joel indicated he was in - only a small one about 2lb, but a bass none the less and a bit of a relief for Joel as he'd had a pretty slow start to the year. Fished on with renewed enthusiasm, but that was it for the day. A highlight on the way back was a male Wheatear that let us get to within a few feet of his perch on top of a sheep turd before he flew off.

Second bite of the cherry was in Pembrokeshire. Tide times and weather had been all wrong until the very last day, when I was able to get onto the estuary at first light with about two and a half hours before high tide. Conditions weren't brilliant as the river was coloured up after recent heavy rain

Cleddau Estuary

Fished surfaces lure as the tide came in over the rocks. Was concentrating like mad on the Sammy (second from right in lure box above) when I saw a fish subtly swirl behind the lure. Stopped it dead, paused for a few seconds, then started "walking the dog" again. Another subtle swirl and.......that was it!  Carried on, but had to give up as the rapidly rising tide picked up all the loose weed, making presentation impossible. Roll on Summer!

22/05/2012 - Kegworth Cut

Had a meeting down in Leicester, so was able to stop off at Kegworth for another couple of hours. Headed for the area around the Deep Lock again. The cabbages and in-stream weed had really taken hold since last visit and it was difficult to fish the Big Hammers effectively without snagging up. Therefore switched to a small Sebile Magic Swimmer softbait from Harris Sportsmail.


Rigged up, the hook point sits in a little groove in the back of the bait making it 99.9% snag free, so you can chuck it will relative impunity into all sorts of places, even twitching it over the top of lily pads. By altering the number and position of the belly weights threaded onto the hook you can also change the sink rate and action. I was impressed with it anyway! Pike were too, it was just a case of keeping the bloomin' things on. Had three solid takes, one literally as the lure hit the water, but had all three come adrift in the fight. Seems there's a knack to fishing with weedless lures that I need to get the hang of. Ideally you should pause after a take to allow the fish to take the bait into its mouth and compress the body to fully expose the hook. Oh well, live and learn. Fishing isn't meant to be easy!