Trotting little rivers in winter.

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Being a glutton for punishment, I was back on the little river this week trotting with maggots. I’d popped in the farm for a couple of pints and was interested to see a sign, advertising a ” full time person wanted.” For the life of me, I don’t know who would be brave enough to work in a maggot farm with that smell. The guys that work there are covered in dead offal, their cloths look oily and unclean. How you ever get that smell off you or out of your clothing, I really don’t know?

Anyway, on the river a strong very cold downstream wind was playing havoc with any stick float I put through. It was clearly a waggler or feeder day, but fool that I am, I’d only brought the sticks with me. I did find a medium Drennan loafer in the tube, and fixed it bottom end only. This did work, but the water was so bloody cold, only a few small dace and roach gave me a look in. It was really bloody freezing, it made me wondered what we did before all the wonderful thermal underwear, salopettes and quilted waterproof jackets? I was not cold all day, in fact back home I’d found I’d sweated a little during the walking I’d been doing.

Today I had the river all to myself, but really we are never alone are we? Two Red Kites hung over the valley all day, and a pair of Kingfishers seem to be following me upstream as I made my way, from swim to swim. Despite a fair amount of water still in the fields, the river was about two feet down, and that nice green colour was replaced with a grey green, that didn’t inspire confidence.

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The sun did came out for about an hour at mid-day, and I sat on my little waterproof cushion for lunch. Hot tea with cheese and tomato rolls made me feel happy just to be out. It’s a cliché but so honestly true, sometimes it’s not about catching fish, but being out and about with nature in solitude. The days are getting longer, soon sure enough I will find and catch some decent fish and that will be my seasons start. After today, it cannot come soon enough!

 

Perfect conditions, but don’t mention the mud!

Readers must forgive me in that when I arrived today I’d discovered my camera was out of battery. Its a shame as I did manage a few nice roach on this trip, but nothing over half a pound. I think the power must have been turned on during moving it from my main bag, to the little stalking bag.

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The swim was one I’d fished may times for big chub, in similar conditions. The river had that wonderful green tinge to it you only get after healthy quantities of winter rain. It looked bang on to be honest, and maybe I made an early mistake by using ground bait mixed with caster and hemp, two large balls on arrival. I wanted to see what the swim could do in ideal conditions, hoping a big roach would turn up. I’m unsure thay really exist, but with so many healthy looking smaller roach around the 4 oz to 10oz range, you have an open mind?

I started with a big stick taking 14 x No 4, but soon change to a 8 x No 4 with a small olivette as the bulk just over half way down. Then No 4 and 8 strung out to a shotless 10” hook-length. The bites when they came were positive so I stuck with the 14s hook and double caster. The position of the swim with all the recent rain, had caused the swim to become very muddy. If you imagine a small line of rushes dropping into 6′ of water, but the bank covered in mud, where you need to stand and fish. Twice I slipped and was up to my waste in cold water, but many times just slipped onto my back or knees just getting dirty. Fortunately I was wearing my neoprene waders (no choice) as I was expecting to be knee deep in water. Back home the gear was just dumped into the garage to dry, I’ve been cleaning and washing the mud of it this morning.

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The day was dull, and the sun never stood out making it a perfect fishing day. I’m now having doubts about the swim producing big roach, as I stayed on until dusk trotting a lighter float along the margins feeding caster and hemp. I took several nice roach but nothing close to a pound sadly?

Next trip will be much the same, but I’ll try the Trent. Maybe with a feeder during the daytime, but feeding the margin rushes for later in the evening. There is a nice video on You-Tube My roach attack that is worth a look about big roach in the edge.

River high dirty, and cold, blank!

When I collected the casters from the farm, the car still had some frost on the roof. The guy who served me suggested I might struggle on the river today, so cold was it. But the clear sky, lack of cloud, made the day seem  pristine in some way, so I just had to go.

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I picked a swim behind a large bush that trailed in the water, it formed a little run of about 10 yards that was slacker than the main flow. However, I was soon to discover it was full of snags, that took every hook link I trotted through. I’d taken the two float rods one ultra light Daiwa, the other a medium outfit Drennan, but to be fair they should have remained at home. The quiver tip gear was the way to go, but so dirty was the water, even then I would have struggled in truth. So I had a little walk upstream, to see if any spot was better to float fish. (I could see the deep muddy tracks that the recent rain storms had caused) But nothing could spoil such a wonderful clean crips day, and the world seem really good right now) Sadly nothing took my fancy and I ended up fishing right under my rod tip. It really was cold, even with all the thermals, hat, and winter boots I was only just warm enough.

The tea from the flask and cheese rolls were very welcome, and to be honest, after the flu and chest infection that stood me down for three weeks, I was just happy to be out. The 13′ Daiwa team x float rod continues to amaze me in how light and comfortable it is to hold all day, even though it is several years old now, and out of production. Was it one of the best “roach trotting rods” ever made? Well, it must be close, some people think so as they come onto E-Bay now and again, and fetch good money, even now! The unique handle and ultra slim quick tapered blank, makes for a very special trotting rod, if only a fish would bite today,  I could put it into action again? However it was not to be, and I drove home with the heater on full, my toes getting thawed out nicely.

IMG_0923IMG_0927IMG_0924I would like the air temperatures to rise a little more, as minus -5 night and +6 in the day is too cold for this old man. All my gear is set for the coming spring and those big bream. But a trip for some big chub and roach on the local river will come first, after all, I’ve two pints of casters, and a pint of hemp in the fridge? I single rod, net, flask, travel light, sounds like a plan?

Almost time again!

I’ve been suffering this last 20 days with the worst flu virus ever. It turned into a chest infection that put me to bed for two full weeks, I was so weak I couldn’t walk. Sadly I passed it on to my dear wife ( who suffers with a heart condition and asthma) and she is just feeling better after 17 days. We both had our flu jab this year, so this virus must be something new. If any readers have suffered with it, then I genuinely hope you get better soon.

My next fishing trip should be next week, I’ll be long trotting on the Trent with bread punch after one of the big roach the river is throwing up lately. Back in 2011 one forum was talking about big Trent roach being rare, and they were. Then in 2012 someone had a 2lb 5oz fish, and slowly it seems the fish have been getting bigger. Now the record stands at over 3lb with two pound fish being caught weekly. From what I can see the better fish are all tidal, not that you cannot get one elsewhere, but the tidal is your best chance of a big fish. Why this is so, I really don’t know, maybe a reader will enlighten me, please?

On You-Tube Mark Wintle has a cracking new video shot this year in January. He is fishing the River Dorset Stour with bread. The conditions look ideal, no wind, a little colour in the river, and loads of ravenous roach about. Mark makes long trotting look easy, and it is, but the skills are long time served skills you have to learn to be good at.

Even his basic ground bait 50% brown crumb and 50% roach groundbait is simple, but works well and sinks to the bottom when made up a little stodgy. No other additives to the mix, so when the roach arrive, all they have to eat is the groundbait and Marks punched bread. On his tray are groundbait, a bread punch, disgorger, and a bread slice.

So a cheap and simple days out fishing, you keep warm standing up casting, being at one with nature beside the river, nothing can beat it really?i-have-man-flu-meme

 

 

A quick trip, nice to be out.

The best laid plans, or so they say. My day trip to a local stocked carp lake was curtailed some today, as I found it flooded, over the banks into the tree’s. So it was onto the Trent for the second option, and hopefully maybe a nice roach or two. However the river was also over the bank, fishable, but I’d not taken the right gear for heavy river fishing. So it was onto a very small lake close to home, again with stocked carp. This time I had the place to myself, totally on my lonesome, the wind was howling through the trees like a young hooligan.

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I set up a simple ultra-light Guru maggot feeder 12 grams and started casting close in, restricted by neglected overhanging trees, there branches not allowing any over-head casting. It was really very cold, and the hot flask of tea was wonderful. I’d guess the temperature did not get above 3 degrees all afternoon. By 3pm I’d packed with just a nice bronze bream of about 3lb taken on pellet. I was not expecting much, with the weather being so foul, so the little bream was well-come.

I thought about the fishing in my life and how much even such a short trip pleased me. I’ve not been very recently and I’d missed it big time, getting rather depressed in the process. I’m planning much more this season for the spring, the local lakes big bream are rarely caught, as are the tench. One chap showed me the way last year catching several nice tench over several weeks on match tactics with worm, caster and corn. He didn’t get into the bream however, and I think that was more to do with his location rather than his technique. So come the first sign of a little warmer weather, I’ll be on the banks long range bream fishing, I hope?

Back on home water.

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So I’m back on the Tent for the foreseeable future, fishing for roach, and barbel. Now the heavy floods are receding I’m sure the better fish will be in their winter holts, and hungry. So the plan is to fish a new beat (to me) and also a local beat I know reasonable well. The approach will be feeder with hemp and caster, backed up with a bigger outfit if the barbel turn up. I’ll be putting a bit of meat out in the feeder now and again, plus I’d like to try 10 ml mini boilies for the better roach.

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While the water is not known for big roach (a pound fish being a clonker) I did see a few much better fish feeding during a big midge hatch a few years ago, they were well over a pound. I think the reason these fish don’t get caught often is lack of numbers, and their cageyness, sitting back in the swim, and feeding well after dark. I’m seeing more big roach being caught on large pellets and boilies in the news, it has to be worth a try. So that’s me and what I’m doing. My recovery from cancer is slower than expected, but I’m able to fish and thats all that matters right now. As usual I’ll let you know how I get on guys.

 

 

It’s that time?

For the past few weeks I’ve been stuck, wanting to fish the rivers, going to fish the rivers, but finding them too high due to heavy rain. It seems to me is if it’s rained every day since I ended the carp foray I enjoyed so much. So I’m going back to the carp on A1 pits and also to see if the big lake giants in my club water are feeding for winter?

So with hope I will wet a line soon and have something to talk to you about? As an aside, you can follow me on Facebook (look at me all new school ha!)  should you like. I’m also very interested in politics and trying to make sense of what PMs are saying. My views are my own, and I don’t support one party, even though I do lean to the right slightly, Corbyn terrifies me. On Facebook I will argue for the facts, so lacking these days.

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A picture to cheer us all up maybe?