Sadly I’m a bit poorly at the moment as cancer has touched my life. So if I’m a bit for a while, you know why! I’m desperate to get fishing again, as the Tench and Crucian fishing is just around the corner. Stick with me all you kind followers please?
Just taking a little break from fishing due to a health scare. I’ll know what’s going on in a few weeks and what treatment I could need. Stay with me and all being well I’ll be back stronger. Thanks to you all. Rich.
By the time February gets here the nights are getting shorter and the days longer, so I always think of Christmas time as around half way through winter. I know it can linger in March and April, but it won’t stop me fishing for Tench come April time.
So at this time in December I have a number of free days up to Christmas I can go fishing. Days around the family and friends, I’d dearly love another big Chub, but those commercial Carp water silvers and big Roach are also tempting me. It’s like the choice between another piece of Christmas cake or a mince pie, both are as good as the other.
I’ll fill you all in on the trips as they happen, but until then have a wonderful Christmas and happy New Year.
We all have to use equipment to enjoy our sport, I for one have tried to buy the best in the hope it will improve my skills, high quality gear has always given me pleasure in its use.
I do a lot of float fishing and have a lot of rods I could review, but I’ll start with something that will be popular, Feeder Rods. There can never be just one ideal rod as I fish many different waters, from the river Trent, to small commercials. So this review will cover several rods.
My latest rod is a Drennan Ultra-Lite 9′-10′ feeder rod. Designed for main lines around 4lb, but like many rods it’s underrated and I’m comfortable with 6lb mainline for my small river Chub and Barbel fishing. Understandably it’s perfect for those swims you cannot get a normal 12′ rod in, or would damage the tip, striking upwards into tree canopies. I’ve teamed mine with a 2500 Abu Revo top line reel, it’s so light to carry and use, that I can honestly say it’s a joy. I’ve just landed that good Chub mentioned in the last post and it dealt with it with ease. It comes with two complete tops, on a fully fitted 3/4lb t/c quiver tip and the other is a 1lb t/c. It will make a cracking winter Roach rod both river and still-water.
The second rod is another Drennan, the Match-pro Medium Feeder at 12′. If I only fished medium size rivers for Chub and Barbel this would be my one rod. My own view is most people use rods far too heavy for Barbel, when an Avon style rod would land the biggest of fish, provided the line and reel are fit for the purpose. This rod has the normal slip in feeder quivers that attach to a shortened second part of the two section rod. The quivers start at 2oz through to 3oz. The rod curve is very Avon in style and not tippy at all, unlike its bigger brother. I find 6lb line ideal right through on this rod, but would happily use 8lb if fishing near snags.
The final rod is the one mentioned above, the Drennan Super-Feeder 12′. This is my big Trent feeder rod and is much more tippy than the smaller sister the Medium. It will cast 3oz feeders across the Trent or lob slightly bigger ones. Personally I don’t ever go heavier than 3oz on the Trent, as I find using a thinner main line allows the use of smaller leads. If you use 12/15/20 line on any rod, then want to hold the middle Trent in a normal flow you will need 4/5/6 oz of lead depending the place you fish, it’s that simple! Then you will need a rod capable of casting that weight, it’s a vicious circle. This rod is ideal, perfect for the specialist angler fishing for big Chub or Barbel. The 3oz tip is made for the Trent and it will pick put both Roach bites if set up correctly, and the nibbling Chub bites we seem to get a lot these days. I could use this rod on a little river if it was in flood. If I only fished the Trent or Wye this would be my one rod, again I love this rod and it’s tippy action.
Alan Scotthorne does a nice Trent review of this very rod, worth a look if your looking at buying one. You-Tube Alan Scotthorne fishing the Trent.
Apart from the little new Ultra-light, I have used and abused these rods and they look as good as new. It seems Drennan don’t make a bad rod in truth, and they have been around a long time. Their rods are always well priced, but not crazy, worth the money I’d say?
So the weather was not very promising to be honest, cold with little wind, but bright. Most anglers know this type of weather can be the kiss of death to any river fishing, you’re better with mild and wet, windy, but?
I decided to go back to the swim I blanked in last week. A big fish swim (known to me anyway) where I’ve taken several big Chub, including a 6lb 6oz fish in 2015. There is always a fear the fish have died, or simply moved, but hey you have to try. I arrived at 9 am, very early for me with the sun just coming through, but it was very cold. I’ve just brought some new warm weather gear recently in the hope I can stay warm longer. “I’ll do a post on this at some time, because I think you would be interested, if like me you fish during the winter and feel the cold?” The swim is down a steepish bank, but out of any wind, and sunshine, so it took a long time for the sun to get around to me, and the swim.
Early morning and a weak sun just getting through.
I settled for my little Drennan Ultra-light feeder rod at 10′, loaded with 6lb line and my own sliding paternoster with a double swan shot as weight. The river had almost no flow, just a gentle trickle down the centre. Hook was a size 8 Kamasan B983 a hook I have used for years when fishing for Chub. Its light but strong with a nice wide gape, ideal for bigger baits like worms, bread and cheese paste. It’s not a hook I’ve seen mentioned much by anglers like myself, maybe its a best kept secret? I tied it on spade end style as it has an out-turned eye, see it and it will make sense.
Before I put any bait in I put a big lobworm on, breaking off the tail to let the juices out and cast it just ten yards downstream of me. The light 1.oz tip settled, and they’re it remained for the next 30 minutes, until in nodded and bend round nicely. The fish spent most of its time trying to get in the bank-side reeds, (it’s the only time I regret the 10′ over a 12′ rod) but finally it came to the net and all was well. I really didn’t think it was that big, maybe 5lb. But after re-settling my digital scales and re-weighing the little sling, I had to settle on 6lb exactly, no more, but no less. Clearly I was over the moon, and only half an hour in the swim.
A stunning fish of 6lb taken on Lob-worm.
I stayed on until it was almost dark (4pm) when I had another cracking bite, that broke the line at the hook, this time on cheese paste. I packed up with feet like blocks of ice, realising I’d had my feet in water all this time. The swim is on a reed-bed that when you stand on it sinks down to the water. The car was covered over with ice and getting colder as I contemplated on the journey home, that this is the third six pound fish I’ve taken from this limited beat, all different ones according to the photos. A peasant made a noise in a tree far away, saying good-bye and come back soon. I’m sure it won’t be too long.
Despite some decent rain recently, it seem the river levels are remaining the same. The crazy rainless summer heatwave of 2018 dried out the ground so much it seems, it will take a huge amount of water to soak it through. I’d imagine the aquifers underground are all but empty, and I wonder what the consequences of another such summer in 2019 would be. Without this rain I’ve found the rivers low and clear making my fishing really difficult.
I’ve gone back to my old recipe for Cheese paste, dumping the one made with bread recently, it was just not how I liked it. So with a ready made pasty mix, mature cheddar, blue stilton the paste looks and smells amazing now, how could any fish resist it? In the old days 1960/70s I would just leave this in my bag, so it would age, and get more tacky and smelly as the months past by. Now I just pop it in the fridge between trips, if it makes a difference I don’t know, but the garage doesn’t smell of rotten old socks. Also pleasingly you don’t have to hold your nose when baiting up. I’m told putting some pop-up mix in the paste can help with buoyancy, but I’m undecided. I think a cheese bait should lay on the bottom naturally as the free-offering lumps do. Any way we will see, out soon, pop back and see how I do.
As you know by now I love my long trotting, in fact its my preferred way to fish 90% of the time. However once its really cold, experience has told me a stationary bottom bait takes some beating especially for those better fish. You need a decent head of fish in front of you to make trotting worth while, but when you’re fishing for just a few big fish, sitting it out with a quiver tipped bait can up the percentages.
So I’ve made up a bit of cheese-paste, collected a 100 lobworms and have bread flake at my disposal for my next trip, tomorrow. I’ll be fishing a little piece of river that holds some very good fish. These are only a few swims, and these are always very touch fishing wise. By that I mean some days the fish seem absent totally, while others you could get more than ONE bite. As some big perch are in this beat along with the Chub, I’ll be putting my faith in the Lobworms. I do have some nice liquidised bread with hemp birdseed and krill powder mixed if the condition allow.
Early morning (today) saw me approaching the little river with some trepidation, as the weather was bitterly cold, that cold mist staying longer than normal. I knew exactly where I wanted to fish, tucked down low on the bank, as much out of the wind as possible. While the wind was not too bad, it was just the cold coming from the East that made it seem so cutting. I’d collected my maggots from the farm, just a pint of reds today as I did not intend to feed much, just a few every cast or two. But sadly even though I thought I fished well, the bigger fish were not at home. A few little Roach were all I could managed, but at least the new little Drennan feeder rod was christened.
Even though I’m retired and tell myself I can fish anytime, the truth is a little different. Today Monday, and tomorrow are going to be the coldest days of the week, warming up later Thursday/Friday when I busy doing other things. I cannot moan really as those other things I also enjoy, there just not fishing?