The recent death of my old friend John Wilson brought home how little time we really have on this earth, and how we should use every day as best we can. I meet John when he had his little shop In Bridewell Alley in Norwich, and I was Manger of the local Bank.
John before his move to the far East, doing his favourite thing, Long Trotting.
I had many a days Roach fishing with him (our joint passion) on the Wensum when it was in its hay-day. 30-40 two pound Roach in a season was possible for several years, then it was all gone.
When I reflect on fishing and its future personalities I find very few have the John Wilson touch. It’s either all in long stay, do or die Carp fishing, or match fishing on the circus of mini pools stocked with ugly deformed carp. One angler that breaks the rules and still fishes for wild fish on our rivers and streams is Mark Erdwin at his wonderful blog site, Fishingformemories.blog Mark breaks the mood for several reasons, he simply oozes love for fishing. His enthusiasm is infectious, and when he can get me out fishing on the coldest of days in my late 60s, well he must have something.
Not all Marks videos are 100% fishing, nature and it’s surroundings (just like John covered) brings you along on every trip. For a keen naturalist like myself I can watch Marks videos all day long. In fact I find myself going though is whole catalogue at weekends when the weather is poor. Can I urge you to take a look at Marks, sympathetic fishing videos on You-Tube, you too will be entertained enlightened, plus its a great fixed for when you’re not fishing!
I missed my fishing this week, cold weather and a bit of laziness made sure I missed a few days I could have had. I find as I get older this happens sometimes, like when I have a bowls match, or the wife has to go to the hospital. All I make as an excuse not to go fishing, but I don’t like feeling this way.
I know for a number of years I’ve suffered from a bit of depression, nothing serious, but it’s always in the background. Fishing has always been the medication I need for making me feel better so when I don’t go it gets worse. At times we can all be fools to ourselves.
I’m hoping this week will bring some rain, the local river is down a bit, and the Trent below its proper winter level. While its cold, I’ll be carrying two rods, a light 11′ Drennan Ultra float rod, and a Drennan ultra light feeder 9’/10′ plenty of length for the little river. It will give me a choice to trotting the flowing swims (for Dace and Roach) and ledgering in the slow deeper pools for Chub and Perch.
I’ve just released all my Dendrobaena worms because to b honest they have failed miserably to catch me any fish?!. Instead I’ve ordered some Lobs and I’m sure they will be a much better fish catcher, but more difficult to keep. Currently it’s really cold with an East wind so I’m indoors writing this blog, sorry guys. It will get warmer soon, then, I’m off fishing again.
I think I mentioned who much I enjoy my float fishing, and that I’m currently using Drennan Acolyte rods. These rods are not only really light, but have amazing actions, quick with nice soft times, I love them to be honest. However, I really wanted a 11′ float rod for the summer. It would be for the Crucians at Eye Kettleby lake’s, the canal Rudd and trotting on little rivers. Something I could go really light on the hook links, say 1lb for the Rudd as an example. When you look around most light 11′ rods are designed for pellet waggler fishing, with lines up to 6lb being normal. I wanted something lighter.
Forums are ideal for such questions, and many kind anglers came back with the Drennan Match-pro ultralight. Drennan suggest it takes hook-links down to .08oz so ideal. I quickly ordered one and I’m awaiting its arrival as I write.
The little river in town is a fine example of a place I’ve been promising myself to fish, but have never gotten around to it. It’s roughly 10 to 12 foot wide, mostly shallow with the odd deeper pool and full of fish, but it’s surrounded with overhanging trees. You would need to wade with minimal gear, an 11′ rod and a pouch full of maggots, a landing net would be optional?
The little lignum stick Dace floats I’ve just managed to obtain (2 x no 4s) a fine main line say 3lb with a 2lb hook link would allow me to fish the very shallow pools for the better Dace I know are about. The river holds a lot of Trout in the town beat, some big, very big. I fellow angler took one of over 5lb on a fly rod about four years ago. The fish are use to eating bread as ducks abound in the park area. So I’m sure once it arrives, I’ll be looking for opportunities to use the little eleven footer as it will be so much fun. i may even get the old centrepin out and give that an airing.
Another nice day fishing on the little river, taking a nice bag of Dace and Roach to almost a pound on the stick float. Oddly even though the day was more dull than the last trip, the fish feed better in the sunshine opposite to what you would think. Today the River had a nice tinge to it, and I thought that at any minute a big Roach would show it-self, but sadly it didn’t. However I took some nice Roach to 8oz, that convinces me that a very big fish could be in one of the deeper pools, along with the big Chub. I believe Roach up to around a pound are shoal fish and live with other Roach in the long shallow 3’/4′ deep glides, this is also where the Dace collect in winter time. But once the Roach reach a pound or more they become less of a shoal fish (there are less of them) and move winter quarters to the deeper pools with cover. These pools also hold the better Chub, Perch and even the odd big Bream (seen less in the last few years). The big Roach are much harder to catch than the Chub as they get to the bait first, fishing after dark could be the answer as the Chub move up the swim (often to shallower water) to feed on Minnow. Many years ago when I fished solely for big Chub, I found fishing in the shallow water at each end of a pool could be effective, even on the coldest of nights.
While the trotting has been fun, I think sitting it out with a static bait like bread-flake will bring me the bigger Roach. Now I could use my light Chub rod and gear, but it won’t be fine enough in this clear river right now. No, I’ll have to find a specialist approach and fish very fine if I want those BIG ROACH. The little 10′ Cadence Wand I brought a few months ago with a light reel line (3lb) should be ideal, as I can fish a fine hook link 1.7oz with a mini open feeder with liquidised bread. These little 25 gram home-made feeders are ideal for this type of fishing. I’ll just to have decide on a running, or paternoster rig I’m still unsure on what will be best?
I feed quite a bit of worm today, but nothing would take one. Oddly in these long glides Perch seem absent, again I bet they are in the deep pools already. Now a nice big Perch on worm while fishing for Roach would be acceptable, very acceptable.
Daisy and I had a half day trip to a little river near home today, it turned out a good call. While the river was low and slow, it did have a little colour. I set up with a 3 no 4 shallow Harrell stick float on the Acolyte and my old Abu 500 loaded with .14 line. A short 10′ 2 lb hook-length with a size 18s fine wire hook completed the set up. As I was setting up I flicked some maggots into the swim and they disappeared when about a foot down.
What do you mean no biscuits Dad?
The first fish was a nice little Roach followed by a decent Dace around 6 oz, surprisingly almost every trot down produced a bite. The wind was getting up, but the weather was bright and cheering but a little cold. I regretted leaving my coat in the car as I pulled the hood of my jumper over my ears. Daisy May simply huddled down on my -un-hooking mat among the tall grass tussock, getting well out of the cold wind. Only when I opened my tackle bag did she move, hoping a few biscuits were to go with the thermal flask of tea?
I’d taken a few nice fish on the stick, but found with the slow flow, and upstream wind, the float was often at a standstill, So I changed to a small 2 AA waggler and found it much better as I could bury the line behind the float. As time passed a few better Chub-lets turned up, size about 10oz to a 1lb it made the bag build up in weight. A better Roach of 8oz was nobbled by a Pike that I played for several minutes, until it dropped a now very dead Roach. I thought the Pike would see the swim go dead, but no, I still caught until lunchtime, when Daisy remind me we had only had a spare breakfast, and I’d not brought any lunch, or biscuits.
30+ fish to almost a pound, sorry about the picture. Standing on a very steep bank!
We had taken about 30 fish from a little River I could jump over (well in my teens I could). Two red maggots on a size 16s had done for them, finesse was not required today, as the fish were clearly hungry. It seems the eco-system is doing well on the little River and I cannot wait for some decent rain to bring the river up! The trotting will just get better and if any big fish are about, they should show?
Honest I just cannot remember the last time we had any substantial rainfall. It must be at least 8 months, so right now I’m hoping it will continue and be continuous. The rain has to get into the ground first, then flood the rivers, that first big flood is life blood to the river and anglers alike. The river needs it to remove all the stale rubbish on the river bed, including silt, old weed and even anglers garbage. We need it because when the rivers are up a little the fish feed with abandon, often the water is carrying some sediment making it less clear and quicker in pace. Then fish have less time to inspect a bait and cannot see our rig as easy.
This window of opportunity is sometimes very short, maybe just a few days if we are lucky it can last several weeks if the rain keeps coming. Worst it keeps coming and coming and we have weeks of non-fishable rivers, it’s all down to luck.
In 2015 I managed to fish a little river just at the right time, the water was up and the fish were ravenous. I fished this one stretch for several days and took four massive chub, the best at 6lb 6oz all on the float, laid on in the margins. Bait was flake fished over mashed bread soaked in hemp oil. The fish is on the front page of this blog and while it isn’t my biggest fish, it has the best memories for me.
My local Grantham canal has some nice Rudd in it, however they are a bugger to catch. There are so many things against catching them, one is summer algae and duckweed. Its up by mid-June then gone with the first frosts, in summer you can find some odd holes in the weed, but if it’s the slightest bit windy, the gap closes and your buggered again.
Last week I managed a morning when the duckweed had all but gone and the wind absent. With the Daiwa 3 meter whip and pint of maggots, just sitting on the bank with no chair I thought I had it cracked. But sadly a once a year boat came through looking for some wayward young swans, and this turned the bottom over clouding the water and making it impossible to fish. I’m hoping the really cold weather will hold off so I can get another crack at them on a slow sinking bait.
Normally the water is crystal clear and you can see the Rudd take a bait, juts how i like it. The fish run to around a 1lb most 3-8oz with the odd much bigger fish every year or two. With the little whip 20s hook and matchstick style float, fun is the name of the game but you have to get the fish feeding confidently .