22/11/2013 - Somewhere in Derbyshire

Finally managed a break from work, decorating and building kitchen cabinets! Arranged with my friend Tim to go for a "grayling masterclass" on his syndicate water in Derbyshire. The landowner had imposed a fly only rule since the last time I went with him, so it was going to be a day of Czech nymphing, a method I'd never tried before, instead of the float and maggot. Got to the venue to find that the river was dropping nicely after the rain in midweek. At the first swim Tim got me set up, explained where the fish were likely to be lying and then gave a quick demo of the technique before I had a go myself. Soon got used to pitching the two weighted flies upstream then watching the line for any unnatural movements as they bumped back along the bottom towards me. The first spot proved fishless, so it was off downstream to try the next one. Tim pointed out where there was a hole scoured out in the bed, which was likely to hold a fish or two. More by luck than judgement I managed to drop the flies right on the spot first time, the line twitched and I lifted into fish, not huge, but my first grayling on the fly.

Hello Lady!

Moved down to the next swim and again Tim's local knowledge was spot on as he pointed me towards a flat spot in an otherwise pacey section of water. A couple of trots through and everything went solid. Thought I'd hooked bottom, but then felt the throb of a better fish on the end of the line. Played it into the side under Tim's instructions, keeping the rod tip low until it was time to net it. Turned out to be a nice male around the 2 lb mark.

   And the lady's other half!

After a quick coffee it was down to the next spot, a deeper glide at the tail end of a pool. Had been chatting away with Tim, fully into the rhythm of casting when I had another take in front of me. Lifted into a fish that shot downstream towards against a fully bent rod and then just hung on the end of a taut line in the faster water. Knew it was big fish as I could do nothing with it other than just keep the rod tip low, keep the pressure on and pray that the hook didn't pull out. Eventually I started to make headway, the pressure of the rod and some scare tactics by Tim, wading into the river downstream,  forcing the fish back up towards me. However, it soon became apparent there was a problem as the angle of the line into the water was all wrong. Lifted the rod tip to find the line festooned with leaves, there was a judder and the fish was gone. Tim's expression said it all,  I'd lost a very big fish.........Oh well, onwards and upwards! Carried on for the rest of the afternoon, trying a variety of spots, picking up a few more grayling between us and three out of season brownies to me before the light faded and we made out way back to the cars.

Thoroughly enjoyed the day despite losing that fish and the fact my right shoulder was in agony by the  time I got home (Czech nymphing is hard work!). Will certainly be a method I'll be using again and hopefully I'll be back after the "one that got away".

Bits and bobs - 05/11/2013

Work, buying a new kitchen, weekends away at friends and relatives......I could go on! Needless to say there hasn't been much fishing done lately. A trip down to Saunton with the lads was an opportunity for another crack at the bass with the lures. However, day one on the coast near Woolacombe drew a blank. The next morning saw me on the estuary just after dawn for a social with Joel Squires (http://www.joelsoul.co.uk/). Conditions seemed perfect - the light was good, the wind had dropped and there were even birds feeding on shoals of bait fish, albeit tantalisingly out of casting range most of the time! Worked hard with surface lures, following the incoming tide up the gullies and making sure we didn't get cut off in the process. 

Joel on the estuary

Retreating back onto the beach I tried "trotting" a soft plastic on the current but, apart from a tiny "basslet" to Joel, our luck just wasn't in. Bit frustrating given such good conditions and the fact that the following weekend in Pembrokeshire (and the last chance for a bass) was completely blown out. Never mind - next year! Back in Nottingham, a couple of trips with the light lure outfit following up a "hot tip" about some big perch just resulted in a few small pike before the heavens well and truly opened and flooded rivers brought things to a halt.

Jack on a Big Hammer

At least I've caught up with my reading, not least the great blogs and online magazines that are out there. One of the latter is http://www.esoxworld.com/, which is currently available as a download, an iPad App and PC/Mac App and has some great articles on pike and muskie fishing in the UK, Ireland, Europe, Canada and the United States. Another good fireside read is http://www.catchmagazine.netEven if you're not a fly fisherman, you can't fail to be impressed at the amazing photography and visually stunning locations. It's certainly got me hankering (on a less global scale!) after some fly-fishing for grayling once the rivers have dropped back to normal. If you're cack-handed like me and can't tie the simplest fly to save his life, http://www.islandflies09.co.uk/ are well worth looking at for value, quality service. Just hope the weather improves a bit now!

07/10/2103 - Trent and Mersey Canal

With the mild weather continuing, another trip to the canal had to be on the cards. Went with some new rigs this time to try and get to the bottom of those "unmissable" runs. My usual approach is a hair rig using a size 6 single. However, rummaging in the garage, I managed to find some small, but very strong and needle sharp Partridge outpoint trebles. Coupled with a supple wire trace in a sensible breaking strain I felt confident that they'd cope with any bigger fish, i.e. pike, that came along, so made up a couple of snap tackles to try on one rod. Got down to Burton shortly after 6 pm and soon had the rods out, hair rig on the right and snap tackle on the left. First run came on the right hand rod when it was still light. The manic head thumping indicated a perch. Not quite 2lb, but a good start.

Predator #1 - perch

Rather surprisingly dusk came and went without any action and it was fully dark before the left hand rod was away, resulting in a micro-zed of about a pound hooked on the bottom treble. If that had been on the hair rig I would have struck into thin air! As if to prove the point, I missed a run on the right hand rod before the left hand rod was away again, resulting in another zander not much bigger than the last. A long quiet spell followed before two better zander showed up in quick succession on the right hand rod. 

Predator #2 - zander

Packed up at about 9.30 pm having had two runs with a 100% hookup rate on the snap tackle, compared to four runs and 75% on the hair rig. Not very scientific, but at least I know what was responsible for those unhittable runs. Also, the bigger zander and the perch (and the pike last week) were all hooked firmly in the scissors by the single hook rig, so guess I'll stick with that and just put up with missing a few small fish now and then.

02/10/2013 - Trent and Mersey Canal

Mild nights had been forecast this week, so arranged to meet Tim for another crack at the zander on the canal. Got home from work early, did a few chores, then headed down the A38 and was in the swim fishing by 6 pm. The Canal and Rivers Trust had been along and kindly cut the grass on the towpath again. However, most of it had ended up in the water, so sunken rod tips were the order of the day!

Grass soup!
Tim turned up as the light was going. The bobbin on my right hand rod had been doing a Michael Flatley and jigging around all over the place just prior to his arrival, but I had failed to connect with anything. Sod's Law then that Tim should cast in and soon after land the first zander of the night!


Almost immediately after his zander I landed a pike of about 6lb and then a perch of 1lb 10oz, so we at least had the "treble" in the bag  between us. However, whilst Tim went on the catch another three zander from the right hand side of the swim, I couldn't seem to connect with any of the crafty beggars. Both of us experienced full blooded runs with line disappearing off the reel, only to strike into thin air or, as happened to me, find yourself connected to a) an old shoe or b) a sunken branch! My highlight of the night came when I struck into a heavy fish that took a bait positioned tightly (more by luck than judgment!) against the pilings on the far bank. Not a zed, but a nicely conditioned pike of 15lb that had obviously fancied a quick snack on a roach head.

Once we were in full darkness the action dried up, which seems to be the pattern here. Gave it another hour anyway, but were packed up and away by 9.30 pm.
Postscript - I checked my photos from last season and found that I'd had the 15lber on 14/10/12 at 13lb 12oz. Pattern on the anal fin was a giveaway. Shows they don't move far. Wonder if that 18lb 12oz that Tim had last year has got any bigger?!

22/09/13 - Trent and Mersey Canal

Arranged to have a quick session down on the cut for the zander with my mate Tim. In contrast to the previous weekend it was bright, warm and sunny. Possibly not the best weather for zeds, but couldn't really complain and by tea time I was desperate to get off. Unfortunately things started to go downhill from there. A text from Tim announced that he wouldn't be able to come after all. Secondly, I got delayed on a congested M1 and didn't get down to the canal until gone 7pm. Finally, with the sun disappearing, I rushed to "the spot" only to find it occupied by three yoofs, each with two rods out for the carp. Set up some way downstream from them with a view to leap-frogging down to the next lock. Soon had two rods out with half deadbaits on single hook rigs, one in the far margin and one down the middle. Was still light when I had a pick up on the margin rod. Fish shot off like a torpedo when I struck, heading straight through my other line. Luckily a competent dog walker was on hand to net a very angry pike of about 6lb. Sorted out the tangle and got both rods back in as it got fully dark. Soon had a pick up on the rod down the channel resulting in a stolen bait, but then had to leap-frog down a couple of times before I got another run. This time the hook gained a solid purchase, resulting in a small zander.

Baby zed

The carp yoofs went around 9pm, so I decided to drop in on their swim and try my luck there as I'd had no further interest after that zander. Unfortunately, the sole action was to wind in both rods an hour later! Was so still and clear by this stage that I could see The Plough reflected in the surface of the canal, which was like a mirror in front of me. Left for home having collected three Sainsburys carrier bags full of food wrappers and empty boilie bags (bless 'em!) and scratching my head once again.......

12/09/2013 - River Trent

A conversation with my friend Tim whetted my appetite for an early return to the Trent. I still had some Brownie points left from finishing the decorating at the weekend, so set off down to Swarkestone after work again. Headed for where I started last time, but with just one small roach and a perch to show for an hour's work with the float rod I was left scratching my head. Thought a move was probably best rather than keep feeding an obviously empty swim, so headed right down to the end of the section where I could at least see some fish showing on the surface. Proved to be the right decison in one respect as I ended up having a cracking session on the "stick". It was virtually every throw a coconut as I dropped on a shoal of chublets, with some decent roach and a few dace, bleak and small perch thrown in as well. As usual, I got carried away with the simple pleasure of watching a float sail down the river and disappear. Kept telling myself, "just one more cast, one more cast"! It was only a tangle that finally made me put down the float rod and set up the paternoster with just over an hour of light left. Gave the float swim a rest and dropped in the next spot upstream. Bait had been in for nearly 30 minutes and I was about to move it when the rod tip started nodding away, resulting in a greedy perch of just 3/4lb. Moved back into the float swim but had no interest whatsoever until it was fully dark when I had a smash take from a pike that mangled the hooklink and effectively ended the session.

Tackle mangler

Not the start to my autumn predator campaign that I'd anticipated. Feel the need for some zander therapy.......

09/09/2013 - River Trent

Finished decorating another bedroom at the weekend, so promised myself some time off. Talk of the "last day of summer" had started me thinking about the predators again, so the perch gear was thrown together for a evening trip to the Trent near Swarkestone. Nearly didn't go as it absolutely chucked it down just as I was leaving the house, but I convinced myself it was only a shower and set off. Arrived to find a few changes since I was there last. The nettles were easily head high and virtually swamped the path. A group of game old ladies out for a ramble had warned me how bad they were as I was leaving the car, so I was glad I had the foresight to put full waterproofs on. The pegs weren't much better, in fact I got lost trying to find my first swim! There was some evidence that the peg had been fished, but not much. Also, the small bay to the left was now choked with arrowhead, rather than the thin floating weed that had been there before.


Got the float rod going anyway and was straight into perch, lots of them - unfortunately mostly around 2oz, although one of about 3/4lb gave me a good run around. The silver fish were noticeable by their absence so, after a couple of hours hard work, I had only managed to scrape together half a dozen useable bleak and roach. Got the paternoster rod out and dropped a bait into a gap in the arrowheads. Didn't have to wait long before the tip started banging and I struck into a good fish. Unfortunately it was of the green and spotty variety and made a point of visiting every corner of the swim before I got it into the net.

Expertly hooked!

Thought a move was in order after that disturbance, so struggled down to the next swim. Managed to snag my centrepin on the nettles on the way, so a good 5 minutes was then spent recovering a 50 metre loop of line and getting well stung in the process! Eventually got the paternoster out into a gap under some trees. Had to wait a bit before the rod tip showed signs of interest and, after a particularly dithery take, struck into a perch.....all 1/2lb of it. Carried on until dark, but didn't trouble the scorer further. Oh well, can't catch 3lbers every trip can you?

Swarky Bridge at dusk

27/08/2013 - Cleddau Estuary

Another few days down in Wales and another chance for a few more bass. However, it wasn't until right at the end of the holiday that all of the conditions lined up favourably. Dawn on the last two mornings therefore saw me expectantly waiting down on the estuary at low tide.

Dawn on the estuary

As soon as the current started pushing in I set about covering the water in front of me with the Megabass X-130 in the sardine pattern that had done the job on previous occasions. On both days there was an endless procession of mullet making their way past me up the estuary, some of them just drifting along with the current with their backs out of the water and others speeding through like torpedoes with the occasional acrobatic leap thrown in. The water was gin clear and there were also lots of small bait fish visible in the margins, which seemed to bode well. However, on the first morning I began to wish I was fishing for the mullet and not the bass, as I eventually managed just the one small schoolie. Did slightly better the following day in terms of numbers with four more schoolies, the best barely scraping 2lb.

Silver bar
Have enjoyed my few sessions on the estuary this year. However, there'll be another opportunity for a "proper" fish during the bi-annual surf trip down to Saunton in October when I hope to meet up with Joel Squires again. In the meantime, how am I going to catch those mullet next year.......?

17/08/2013 - Leicestershire Brook

More a pre-work recce to look for some new spots to try before the end of the trout season in a few weeks time. However, took along the fly rod if the opportunity arose for a cast or two. There had been heavy rain overnight but, whilst carrying a bit of extra water, the brook only had a slight, peaty tinge about it. By contrast the stream across the other side of the field was running a nice grey/brown colour and smelled slightly of sewage! Had a poke around on downstream section again and got stung through my trousers by the nettles a few times as a result. Did spot a couple of fish rising so, as there was nobody about still, went and got the rod from the car. Had exhausted my supply of my favoured fly pattern, a size 14 GRHE with a copper head, on previous trips so went for a black goldhead instead. The trout didn't seem to mind and it was probably a better choice given the slight colour anyway. Bumped one off first cast, then had a small one to hand.

Spotty 1

Half a dozen casts (flicks, dibbles, dangles - whatever you want to call them!) later, I had a better one in the net.

Spotty 2
Left it at that, conscious of the time and the risk of drawing unwanted attention to myself, but already thinking of a couple more trips in September to try and catch an end of season "lunker".

03/07/2013 - Leicestershire brook

Couldn't resist another shot at those LBT's, so it was up bright and early and down the motorway for an early session before work again. The intention was to try a bit further away from civilisation this time, so set off upstream from the car park. Was overcast and damp again and the overnight rain had just put a touch of colour in the water, so things looked promising. However, walked past the first signs that others were showing an interest in the brook's inhabitants - a cleared area of bank and an empty tin of yellow peril!

Carried on until I reached a spot where I'd had a couple of fish previously. Sure enough, first drop in resulted in a rattle on the rod tip and fish on. As usual it buried itself in the marginal vegetation under my feet. However, after sliding in to retrieve it, I found my hook connected to a clump of grass and not to a fish. Bumped another fish off before heading up to the pool. No fish rising this time, but first cast up to the top of the pool resulted in a take. This one charged around a bit before again shedding the hook, this time in some tree roots! Bumped another fish on the next cast, aargh! By my reckoning it was now four - nil to the trout and beginning to look like one of those days. Thought a third cast into the pool was pushing my luck, but tried it anyway. Bang......blimey! This time it stayed on.    


Left them alone after that one and carried on upstream to try pastures new when I bumped into an old biddy and her alsation on the footpath. Thought she'd paused to let me past, but as I got closer she launched into a completely unexpected "people like you" tirade, accusing me of all sorts of things from taking fish to breaking down trees and bushes. Assured her that I was doing none of those things and even offered her my ID, but she was having none of it. Now I usually enjoy a good toe to toe, but I could see that this one wasn't going anywhere, so made a tactical withdrawal (yes, I ran away from an old lady, but she did have a very sharp tongue and a big dog!). Was far too early to think about going to work, so headed further downstream instead. Here the brook runs very close to houses, but is extremely overgrown with nettles and willows, so it was a question of pushing through the vegetation to try and find a suitable places to drop in. First spot yielded a little gem. The smallest, but probably the fattest trout I've had so far.

Little fatty

Two more closely followed, including the best of the morning from a hole under a mat of willow roots.

More like it

Was evens in terms of fish landed/fish lost by now. However, the trout had the last word as I bumped another one off, then snapped off the end of my hook on a snag. Took that as a natural end to the session, but was still pleased to have caught a few fish while most people were in bed.

29/06/2013 - Cleddau Estuary

The next opportunity to try for some more bass came quicker than expected when the wife suggested I take the kids down to Wales for a long weekend. It was an opportunity not to be missed - Amy had just finished her GCSE's, James had a double inset day and I had loads of flexi-time to use up, so Friday saw us pootling down the motorway to Pembrokeshire. Got there to find that the tides had worked out nicely again, with low tide on the Saturday at about 5.30 AM. Actually got there on the day about an hour later to catch it as it turned and started pushing up the estuary, hopefully bringing the fish with it. Decided to stick with the Megabass-X130 that had worked well last time, casting off the beach into the main channel. Had been plugging away for half an hour before I had a take, a good solid "clonk" as I changed the direction of the lure towards the end of the retrieve, resulting in my first bass of the day.

Bar of silver
A few casts later I had a fish hit the lure virtually under the rod top, but unfortunately failed to connect. By now the water level had crept up to my crotch, so I backed up and moved along the beach a little thinking perhaps the fish were closer in. Seemed to work as very next cast in resulted in another bar of silver.
X-130 again!
Carried on for a bit longer, but the tide was really racing by now and a big group of canoeists had arrived in the carpark, so decided to end it there happy with my two fish. Was even happier when I spotted some samphire sticking up out of the mud. Went nicely with a poached egg on toast and chilli sauce when I got home!
Was in the same spot an hour later the following day. However, was faced with a stiff breeze blowing straight into the inlet, which made casting across the channel a bit difficult. Wave action on the shore had coloured the water up as well, so switched to an X-130 in chartreuse. Had a clonk early on and was just backing up into the shallows to land the fish when it conveniently decided to unhook itself! Carried on with the wind getting stronger and my confidence getting weaker. Had just about given up when I had a take close in. This one I managed to beach safely. Was bit cold by now and I could see the same group of canoeists arriving in the car park again so, after collecting another handful of samphire for breakfast, called it a day. As I walked back to the car I was treated to the sight of a Red Kite flying overhead. These are getting more and more common in Pembrokeshire, presumably as they move down from mid-Wales, but are still fantastic to see.

26/06/2013 - Leicestershire brook

"You know on wednesday, you're not doing anything are you?" her indoors innocently asked the other night. "I want to to a meeting in the evening". "No, dear" I lied as I watched a planned barbel trip to the Trent go flying out of the window. However, got my own back this morning as I woke her up at 4 am (with a cup of tea mind!) as I left for a go at some more LBT's (Leicestershire Brown Trout) before work instead. Arrived to find the brook even lower and clearer than last time. However, it was nice and overcast and I figured I'd be in with a chance if I kept quiet. Carried on where I left off last time, dropping a weighted nymph into likely looking spots, but had only the odd rattle on the rod tip to show for the first half hour, so swapped the black goldhead I was using for a GHRE with a more subdued copper head. Seemed to do the trick as I was in straight away in the next spot with solid take from a small LBT that buried itself in the marginal vegetation and had to be extricated by hand.

One nil to the GHRE

Next spot I was into something a bit better - a bigger, darker fish that again did it's best to shed the barbless hook in the overhanging grass and needed an undignified bum-slide down the bank to land it. This one took the nymph literally as it hit the surface, so guess they must be used to the odd terrestrial dropping in.


Two more followed, including one from a section of the brook right next to a road as oblivious, early morning commuters whizzed behind me. Carried on upstream a bit further than last time and came across a nice pool on the outside of a bend, complete with rising trout! Catapulted the nymph up to the head of the pool and had it taken on the drop. Popped that one back in downstream so as not to disturb the others and went back for another shot. Next drift back down the pool the tipped jagged over as the nymph was again taken on the drop. This one buried itself in some tree roots to my left, but I managed to pop it out into the net with a bit of persuasion.


Had a few more casts, but the disturbance from the last fish had probably spooked the others as I just had one half-hearted pull. Carried on a bit further upstream, but the sun and dog walkers had come out by now. The grass pollen, which had been coming up in yellow clouds all morning and coating my waders and my jacket, was also starting to get to my throat and eyes.

Hayfever time!

Reluctantly headed back to the car and joined the rat race again.

15/06/2013 - Leicestershire brook

Had a couple of lure sessions on the canal after coming back from Wales, but struggled with just a few small perch on the Kopytos.

Better than nowt!
Therefore decided to do something completely different and headed off to a small brook in Leicestershire with the fly rod. Had gleaned some information from work that suggested there was a reasonable head of brown trout present, even though it ran very close to housing on the outskirts of a town. Got there nice and early to avoid the dog walkers to find the brook low and clear despite the overnight rain. However, as I stuck my head over the bridge there was a big puff of silt in the margins as something shot off, which certainly raised my hopes.
Small, but full of promise!
Walked upstream looking for likely spots, before staring to fish back downstream. The brook was generally less than a foot deep with a couple of deeper holes, but with lots of bankside cover. Not a lot of casting was involved, more flicking or dropping a gold head GHRE into the margins and letting trundle past the overhanging vegetation where I hoped the fish were lying up - more trotting than fly fishing! Had tried a couple of spots before I got a good thump on the rod tip and found myself connected to a fish that charged straight into the side. Slid bum first into the water and scooped it into the net. Back on the bank  I was able to have a good look at my first wild Leicestershire brown trout, all spots and buttery yellow belly.
Then missed three chances (doh!) in a little pool, before latching onto a slightly bigger "LBT" just upstream of a shallow ford, again fin-perfect and beautifully marked.
Little beauty
Missed another chance a bit further down then added another of a similar size. By now the dog walkers had started to appear and a blustery wind started getting up, which was making presentation difficult, so headed back to the car avoiding the dog mines. Didn't think that was bad for a quick recce and was fully deserving of the bacon sandwich I had when I got home.

31/05/2013 - Cleddau Estuary, Pembrokeshire

A surfing trip to North Devon earlier in the month gave me another opportunity to meet up with Joel Squires (aka www.joelsoul.co.uk) and a chance to break my bass duck. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas. The cold, wet conditions and howling onshore wind had virtually knocked the surfing on the head and the fishing didn't fare much better despite Joel's usual optimism. Gave it an hour or so with soft plastics before the weather worsened and we were forced off the rocks by the incoming swell. Another time, mate!

Next opportunity was a few days down in Pembrokeshire. Weather had improved significantly, but a brisk, northerly wind saw me looking for some shelter down on the South coast. Had spotted a nice, rocky headland near Manorbier whilst out on the coast path earlier in the year that looked promising. Spent a couple of hours flicking soft plastics into likely looking holes and gullies for wrasse with no response, so moved 'round to the adjacent rocky bay and changed over to surface lures for the bass. However, that failed to attract anything either. Was beginning to think it wasn't ever going to happen!

Looks good, but where were the fish?

Next day the wind had dropped significantly, so it was down to the estuary at Lawrenny. Had timed it just right - the boats were just swinging around on their moorings to face the incoming tide and the water level was starting to creep up the shore, lifting the empty mussel shells and sending them floating off upstream like miniature coracles.
Down on the estuary
Started off with a popper, but then spotted some small bait fish and spooked something bigger in the shallows. Had a look in the box and found a Megabass X-130 in sardine that seemed to fit the bill. Fourth or fifth cast out into the channel I had a satisfying clonk on the rod tip and after a short, spirited fight I was looking at my first bass in the shallows - only about 1lb, but all spines, flared gills and attitude. Popped him back and a couple of casts later was looking at his twin brother. Had two more, biggest about 2lb.

By now the tide was really pushing in and the jellyfish were flying past my knees. That seemed to herald the end of the action, but went home happy and a bit relieved! Next day saw me down in the same spot, albeit an hour later to catch the same state of the tide. Stuck with the X-130 and it did the business again. Had three bass up to about 2lb  again before the flow picked up and the fish were gone, presumably off upstream.
X-130 strikes again
Stopped off briefly on the way home to watch some impressive-looking mullet bow-waving and feeding in a few inches of water, right on the margins of the incoming tide. Maybe next time?!

30/04/2013 - Kegworth Cut

Happened to be down near Leicester during the day and had thrown the light lure rod in the boot of the car on the chance of stopping off somewhere on the way home. Things went to plan for once and first stop was the Loughborough Navigation, but I was put off by the colour and turbidity that I assumed (wrongly) was down to boat movements. Therefore headed off to Kegworth Cut next only to find it similarly coloured. Could only assume that it was down to the bit of rain that we'd had a day or so ago. Had some newly-purchased 2" Kyoptos with me so dug out the brightest I had, a red and red yellow version, and coupled it with a 3.5 g jig head.

New toys

Visibility was only 6-8", but I figured that if I could work the lure slowly enough I'd be in with a chance. A few branches courtesy of recent towpath tree pruning were the only highlights of the first hour and I'd begun to start to lose confidence when I had the first proper hit.........and failed to connect! Luckily that heralded either a little feeding spell or I happened to drop on a small group of fish. Whilst I was probably expecting perch, these turned out to be micro pike. Had three of these little beggars in quick succession.

Had a few more casts, but with time ticking on and no more interest, headed back to the car.

07/03/2013 - River Soar

Well, this has got to go down as my worst winter ever. Any brief window of opportunity that appeared in a hectic work schedule invariably coincided with sub-zero temperatures or flooded rivers. The building works at home had dragged on with the result that most of my fishing gear was still stored here, there and everywhere and largely inaccessible. Frankly, I was prepared to write the season off altogether but, with a rare empty day in the diary and some 20+ hours of flexi time, I decided to try and salvage something with a trip to the Soar. Got there at first light and was pretty optimistic. It hadn't frozen overnight and the rain the previous day had made little difference to the river, which was running at a nice level with a tinge of colour. The only immediate dampener was seeing the carnage alongside the towpath.

Short back & sides!
Hopefully being willows it will do them good in the long run, but there wasn't much to stop the breeze whistling past my ears all morning. The bonus was that I could spot anybody breaking into my car from about half a mile away! Walked upstream to my usual starting point and soon had the two deadbait rods out in the channel. Things looked even better when the left hand float waddled off within minutes of casting. Unfortunately, whatever it was somehow manged to snatch the joey mackerel bait whilst skillfully avoiding the hooks. However, literally two minutes later the smelt on the right hand rod was off. This time the resulting jack of about 3 lb managed to stay on. A few minutes later and another two jacks were on the bank, leading me to believe I was in for a bumper session.
My name is Jack
What a fool! Fished all the way through to 1 o'clock without any further interest despite leapfrogging virtually all the way back to the car. After a leisurely lunch I decided that both a change in venue and species was in order, so headed over to the Trent with perch in mind. Found a nice swim with plenty of cover downstream, droppered in some maggots and chopped worm and dropped a fat lob over the top. Spent the next two hours watching a motionless quivertip in the drizzle. Gave up when I caught myself nodding off! Didn't get any better when a glance at the weather forecast when I got home indicated a return to subzero temperatures for the last week of the season. Oh well, roll on June.........