Red Black and silver!

Getting older has some good and some bad bits, one bad bit is not getting enough sleep then, trying to get up in the morning early, by early I mean before 7am. Today was one of those days, I saw the clock at 6.55am but turned over knowing full well the consequence would be a later start. Today I wanted to try for some of the silver fish at Hallcroft, on a lake I have seen some better roach come out in the summer to pleasure anglers. So after a big breakfast, tea and flask made, a nice stone bread sandwich with cheese and pickle done, I set off.

Croft is a small lake on the complex maybe an acre but full of fish, all sorts as I was to discover. I managed to get a swim out of the cold wind, but with sun and calm water in front of me. I set up a 2 gram Sensas float for fishing on the bottom with bulk shot and two number 8s droppers, positive. I got the set up and floats from this winter roach video below.

Rory doing what he does best.

I started with a small amount of groundbait, laced with hemp and corn, not wanting to attract carp with too much food. There were only two other anglers on the lake, one in a spot I fancied myself today against some rushes. I started to catch perch, nice net fillers of around 6 oz and a little bigger. After maybe 20 such fish I changed rig to a .5 gram float fished through the water, shotted with no8s right through the rig, I still caught perch, some bigger almost a pound in weight, but no roach sadly. While this was fun on the 6 Aqua elastic and .09 bottom where the roach?

Odd better roach, but not in any numbers.

The day wore on, and despite what-ever I tried the perch dominated with the very odd skimmer and roach. I had maybe forty perch from 3oz to a pound all on maggots. When I changed baits, the bites dried up for long periods? Around time it was getting dusk, I hooked what I thought might be a big perch. It was the first big fish I’d hooked on the light elastic and fine hook-link. I simply let the fish go back and forth, little runs, then sulking under the rod tip. Finally I netted a nice common carp of about 7/8 pound, I was really chuffed to be honest. Disappointed to only catch perch (as much as i love perch) and no roach I was expecting, and the landing of a good fish on fine tackle. All told I was content, but will try another lake just to see.

Oddly the guy by the rushes fished in the margins all day, clearly after the carp. I did not see hime take one fish, each to their own, but surly fishing for all sorts at this time of the year does not preclude catching carp does it? I did see the other young lad hook a nice fish but lost it, its does happen unfortunately? I always feel for people that sit it out then lose a nice fish, but I’m sure his time will come.

The Trent a clean river!

The Guardian did an article on the polluted rivers around the UK. The Trent was not on the list, in fact in the last decade or so it’s been getting cleaner. This is both good and bad for the angler like myself. I want my local river to be clean, its best for me and the fish, but it has it’s unforeseen consequences, like impossible clarity.

Shotting all number 8s. Clear water as you can see.

Yesterday the river was so clear I could see the bottom in eight feet of water. Not good for trotting tares to shy roach. It’s also had a big effect of the ease of predators to rape the river of its natural silver fish and barbel. But that’s not my remit to discuss river policy, and I should be pleased the Trent is as it is.

When you fish in such clear conditions, you must change your habits and how you fish. I still see people casting massive leads in places a one ounce lead will hold now the river is so low and clear. Naturally you have to fish a good size bow in the line, but so what if you do? Those that like to tighten up to the lead will always need three or fours times the weight if thats how you fish.

I managed to get 50 grams to hold the opposite bank last week, yes, a large bow was needed and the boats were a bloody pain, but I proved it worked. An ounce lead will hold directly downstream, you just have to try it. I’d also advise these everyday barbel anglers to drop down to an 8lb main line and 6lb hook-link now. Provided there are no snags and the rod is through action, double figure barbel should easily be landed on such gear. Anglers such as myself have landed many doubles trotting on much lighter gear, it works.

You never get a good wind on the Trent, maybe once in 50 trips?

Sitting in the car does not catch barbel either, and yet those that sit away from their rods, still moan the sport is slow. Speak to people that fish the Trent often like Match-Ace Rob Wootton, they will tell you how important it is to watch the tip of the rod for indications so you know what’s going on in the swim?You may have attracted bream or roach if using big baits, has your rig been moved, has the bait gone? You need to work at the fishing now its so clear! Barbel will often take two maggots on a size 16s when a big bait is often ignored.

Ultra fine fishing today.

I had a cracking days roach fishing this week, landing around 50/60 small roach to six ounces. All during the day-time when nothing was doing, often when fishing like this with small baits the barbel turn up. I always have another Acolyte set up, but this time the Plus version with stepped up tackle just in case?I caught on ultra-light tackle trotted on a 4×4 stick float shirt button style shotting. 2lb hook-link on 2.5 main line old school stuff, great fun. I wanted to stay late just to see if the better roach would turn up, but I was on a promise of home made curry and jam home made jam tarts, so not contest really.

Weather change almost caught me out! And do I need two hats?

About now I wash all my summer rain gear and put it away until next season. The wash includes a Nixwax tech wash to keep the top and bottoms water proof. I then get all the clean winter gear out, ready for the colder weather. Today I left home in shirt sleeve, but on arrival at the river found a downstream wind that really was very cold indeed. I’d left the over-trouser at home thinking it would be too warm for them. Instead I brought a large winter jacket, and was grateful I did in the end.

Simple to keep your gear in good condition and water-proof.

I set up in a new to me swim, that when plumbed up was very deep in the margin, 7’/8’under the rod tip, really nice for winter time. But for now I fished about 5 meters out, with hemp and pellet, as the water was impossibly clear. That wind was bitter and strong, waves lapping the shore line, and the forecast was for 20+ deg and calm? I took a few fish on the stick float a 8×4 Allerton with a bright red top, easy seen on the dark surface, shotting shirt-button style. Nothing big but I’m sure the roach haven’t shoaled up yet, and are still all over the river in small numbers. But come winter I expect them to migrate to a swim like this, deep with plenty of food coming their way.

I packed up early and met two other angler doing the very same, they too had nor warm clothing and were perished after an early morning start. I’ll leave some winer gear in the car from now on, just in case.

Average roach on the day caught.

I’ve never found a good winter hat I really like that keeps me warm. I have invested in a few over the years, but rather they are too hot, or don’t come over the ears without creeping up on the day and making them cold. They all look good when you first buy them, only to find a flaw in the design some time later. The new Guru ones with a peak look ok, providing they cover the ears all day, and you don’t sweat. I’ve one hat that does just that, your heat gets so hot you sweat and become cold all over again. Maybe I simply need two hats in the bag in winter? Back on the river tomorrow, maybe I’ll try punched bread for a change?

Back on the River Trent.

It was great to have the commercial carp fishing this summer. But the river is really where my heart is. Sadly it takes me some time to get back into it, many will understand, that make the switch from still to running water, can take a few trips to iron out the glitches? So this week my firsts trip back was to my local part of the Trent, I’ve been fortunate to take some very big barbel in the past long trotting.

Trotted barbel, part of an eight fish haul in 2017.

I started on a 10×4 stick but the river was way too fast really, so I had to resort to an Avon/Bolo with olivette weight down the line 6 gram, but 8 gram would have been better. I also tried the pole, and finally a feeder. The pace really caught me out in truth, and I was unprepared. What did please though was a nice roach of 1lb 12oz was taken in a match just the day before, so it shows better fish are about, its just finding them?

One Weds I traveled again to the Trent. It looked better and slower, and as I settled down beside the Bull rush stalks, I set up with confidence. During the non fishing days I’d made up a few float set ups on pole rigs. I put a 8×4 Allerton stick with a black tip on the Acolyte Ultra with a 2.3lb bottom and started to feed caster and hemp. Small fish started to feed, chub roach and dace all very small, then I hooked a better roach, that came off after a few seconds. The water was clear and I could see the fish clearly, maybe a pound!

I changed to 4mm dampened pellets, with a banded one on the hook. The next hour was one of the most frustrating to date. I’d hook and lost fish, some a better stamp that did stay on were roach over 6oz, but 80% came off. I changed hook three times trying to find the correct shape and size, but failed. Next trip I’ll have some soft hookers for the hook, maybe in Aniseed flavour if possible?Maybe some expanders are the answer, but it’s a plan.I’m one angler that has to keep moving on in my head, until it all works.

Free-lining in the margins with a big lump of meat. Does it work, sometimes it does?

One other thing thats going to change is my line and reels. The Cadence reel is so good in many ways, but has a big problem. Line continuously get caught behind the spool, it happened so many times it has to be a design flaw, you know after 50 odd years of angling when an item is not right. The other thing is reel line, I will have to go to a much lower diameter as suggested by many of my fishing trotting friends. 3lb maxima main line with a section of 2.5lb for the shotting section (can be replaced and stored between sessions) and 2.1lb hook link. The 2.5 Maxima section is simply so I can replace it if it gets shot damage, as I use lead in 8s. on this part. It’s will be about 4′ long and stored on pole winters minus the float. If I get broken, I’ll get the float and shot back all being well. Maxima is known for being stronger than the breaking strain stated too.

Really nice video of James trotting on the Wye, not unlike the Trent?

I’ll also change to bread and pellets and leave the casters and maggots alone this year, its a gamble, but you have to try and be different at times. Bread will be mixed with a little crumb groundbait, and a few hemp seed to get it all down in the quick waters of the Trent. Pellets will be feed very sparingly, as they fill fish up so quickly. Maybe 3 or 4 pellets each trot down, with a hooker on a size 18/16 B911 wide gape hook. It’s another plan guys, I’ll keep you posted. One last thing, in these times, be nice to other anglers, stop keep a distance, but say hello, we all need to talk its good for your mental health.

Seasonal change.

After another poor day at Hallcroft (fish only feeding late in the day.)I’ve decided to make the change a little earlier than expected. Not 100% sure what I’ll do, but it will either be the river, or another little commercial for some better roach. If it’s the river then I’m sure seed baits will be attractive until the first frost, so hemp and tares could be one tactic on the Trent? I’m thinking now that would be a good little gape filler until the colder weather and those better Roach start to show.

A little commercial in winter, big roach maybe?

Trotting is my favourite thing of all my fishing. It keeps be busy all days and every fish is a bonus in truth. I’ll get a few bags of tares cooked this Thursday Friday ready for next week, yes that’s the plan. I’ve really enjoyed Hallcroft, but you can have enough of even good things. I’ll be able to go later in the day, and stay until dark now. Have a cooked breakfast maybe (did you hear that love?)

My forum friend Mark fishing hemp and tares.

When you’re trotting its a standing method for me, and when I’ve been on my feet for a few hours, the old back starts to play up. So 5/6 hours is plenty enough for this old chap. Most places I can get the car reasonably close to my fishing on the Trent, nice when its winter and you’re wrapped up in a big thermal suit and boots, trying not to get too hot.

The old Acolytes will come out and that new Michel Match I brought at auction last year, remember? I’ve been told the barbel fishing hasn’t been good this year, expect I’ll hear more once I’m tuned in to the river again. After all this blog is called River Trent Angler.

A blank saved and revising my margin fishing!

Monday the carp just didn’t want to feed, not for me or anyone I spoke to, just one of those odd days. I tried the five meter line, long up in the water, and in the margin. I lost two fish in the day (operator error) its never the fishes fault is it? And maybe a foul hooked job too, so when I took a big double last thing, it was a relief to be honest.

Review of the Slik elastics I’m getting to like a bit better now I know how to use it?

One Wednesday I got on Moat and fished the caravans side (sorry static homes) The wind was strong so I decided to fish the top kit and two, so about 3 to 4 meters from the bank, at an angle that suited the wind. The float was a new one from Guru called a pinger at 1 gram weight. Bulk just under half way, then a two number eights dropper 6” from the hook. A size 14s Drennan wide gape specialist. I potted in about 20 pieces of corn, and a six pieces of meat.

The bite was almost immediate and a nice common of about 9lb was landed. This yellow Matrix Slik (15) is ideal for open water and the fish was landed quite quickly. I potted in the same again, and took several little bream of about 2lb apiece, not what I wanted. As this spot was close to the margin I decided too keep bait going in for the rest of the day, as well as placing some up the margin shelf for later on. By lunch time I’d only had two fish, a nice mirror full of scales in good condition too. Two guys opposite me fishing further out, on both the lead and pole failed to catch any carp, a few bream, but no carp. One guy down from me took a real beast of around 20lb, but I did not see it weighed, only the picture. I must have had several 20s according to that photo, a big fish yes a twenty?

Stunning scaly carp of around 8lb taken 3 meters from the bank.

By 3pm a few carp came in close, but not in the margins. In fact I caught in the original spot, and only saw one fish in the very shallow water. I finished with nine carp, a nice day, but I could have done better. Bt this time I’m not sure how. It seems the fish are less inclined to feed in the margins now the season is getting on. Maybe I need to find a less popular spot to fish, not easy on any commercial with daily fishing matches. But I’ll take a look see next time. I know next season I’ll go later in the day, and stay as long as is possible according to the rules. I have taken over 50 doubles since lockdown ended so I cannot complain.

Water agitator on.

I’ve also made up some top kits with much lighter elastic ready for winter time. I’ve a 6 Aqua, a 8-10 Slick, and a 10-12 Maver, that should do me for winter time. I’ve also put some Slik 20-22 on a margin rig for fishing near to rushes and weed-beds on both Moat and Bridge. I’ll not lose anymore fish getting in snags again with any luck.

I’ll fish Hallcroft until the end of September, and the cold snaps start. But by October I’d like to be fishing for roach on the Trent and a little commercial I mentioned previously. Several of the new river rods I brought this and last year (Acolytes) and the vintage Michel Match reel have seen little use to date. I simply love my trotting and it will be that which drags me away from the carp and margin fishing I’m currently loving.

And I nearly didn’t go!

Oh boy, just think the weather forecast said heavy rain and thunder storms, so I considered the weather could be dangerous.( I’ve had a rod hit by lightning once while fly fishing, and it’s not much fun.) But I did in fact go, because the forecast has been wrong so many times, and I’ve regretted not going.

Another match on Moat made me decided to try little Croft again. The fish are smaller in this pretty little lake, but plentiful. One swim I’ve fished before has produced in the past, and with only two other anglers fishing, I got my favoured peg. The water fountains were on, but I could not see any fish on top. So I stared on the five meter line, with a small pot of corn and meat over the top.

The meat produced almost immediately and the 12-15 elastic pulled out really nice. I’d hooked a nice big common (for Croft) that took several minutes to subdue, maybe 10/11lb. A bream, Perch and Roach all followed, before a few more but smaller carp, nothing under 6lb, most around 8lb. I did not overfeed, just a small pot after each carp. I’m learning now, too much food can be the kiss of death sometimes, thanks to Jamie Hughes and his You-Tube clips.

As lunch came around, a fish were on top now, so a switch to fishing shallow was called for. But despite feeding 6m pellets for over an hour (3-4 a time) no fish came close. I was fishing a Drennan crystal inline dibber set 2′ deep. I potted a small cup of groundbait into the margins about 1pm, only to see the spot explode with carp, some big ones too. I dropped a large piece of meat over there top, and caught a nice looking mirror immediately. Then another foul hooked fish, and a change to a laid on hook link fished 8”over depth. But that didn’t really work, in fact a change back to my standard margin rig was really the best practical rig. The key it seems is leaving all bites, until the elastic pulls out of the tip. Then its almost sure a fish is hooked correctly. Its obvious how the fish have wised up, as so many times after feeding a pot, the carp would come in clear me out (in numbers) and I’d be left fish-less.

Feeding has to be right on the day. A change to feeding micros and mixed pellets was the best on this day. Fish after fish would pull the elastic out and steam off into the lake, fighting like demons until landed. (I now have a small carp matt sat under the landing net at my feet. I’ve found the bigger fish can be difficult to un-hook at times. It allows me to just rest the fish on the matt when the extra heavy ones come along, it works too, all fish are safe and unhooked without dropping them. )

I’d feed 10/12 mixed pellets 8/6/micro but with the smallest cup of groundbait to keep the carp coming back all afternoon until 6.30. I’d estimate with the fish averaging around 8lb I’d taken well over 150lb+ of carp today, amazing for such a pole novice. Maybe 3 of the 19 fish were doubles. Clearly my biggest bag ever and my best day at Hallcroft to date. By 6.30 I had the whole pool to myself and my swim was full of carp. I had half a tub of corn and meat left, so I put it in really close to the staging I was fishing from, while packing up. Next look ,tails of a dozen carp were waving me goodbye so close I could touch them.

The key today was feeding. Not over feeding and fishing for one or two fish at a time. Attract them in with groundbait, then feed enough particle to feed one fish. Tiny pots of groundbait keep them rooting, it’s nice to get it right once on a while.

Good service deserves praise!

Just a quick post about where I’m buying some of my fishing tackle lately, a float material seller that goes the extra mile, and a You-Tube fishing match-man thats very good at explaining commercial fishing tuition.

I’ve been a supporter of Angling Direct for decades, I must have spent tens of thousands of pounds in the place. But a recent bad transaction has shown me loyalty is not respected anymore in this shop, they are simply too big to care.

So I started to buy a bit of my gear in Matchman Supplies Nottingham, it’s run by a guy called Tim, and they seems to be on the ball. I do hate it, when you order something you need, only to be told after payment the item is out of stock, and the waiting period is unknown. These guys keep you informed, and it seems they still value their customers. Prices are keen, and they are open to do a deal if they can?

Call Tim for all your fishing tackle with a smile.

The other good provider is a float material seller on E-Bay called “The Float Studio 1”. This guy looks after his customers, to a point he will split packets of items to ensure you get exactly what you want, recommended 5 star.

I’m old enough to still value loyalty, when I was working the same guy cut my hair for 30 years, wonder what old Nick is doing now days. Service is all important to me and many like me, old farts we may be, but we still spend.

Finally, I’ve found a You-Tube site that’s all about commercial carp fishing. (my passion at the moment) Its run by a top Match Angler called Ben Townsend and he really is excellent at explaining the in’s and outs of this kind of fishing. His site is relatively new, but the content is growing and there is so much good stuff on there already. Ben has that something that makes you want to watch him, his knowledge is extensive, well worth signing up for updates.

I’ll catch you up on the fishing over the weekend. I had my best ever day at Hallcroft with 19 carp.

Hot weather fishing 30+deg.

Very short post today. I went to Hallcroft on Monday for a full days fishing, the weather looked really good for some “up in the water fishing” But by around mid-day I’d drunk all my cold drink, and was feeling a little light headed.

I wish?

Being one that suffered from cancer in 2019 I cover up nowadays. So I had a very large cotton hat I got from New Zealand some years ago, a soft cotton full sleeved shirt, with light cotton trousers all linen. If I’d have been fishing the Trent, I could have soaked my large cotton hanky, and put it around my neck, but Hallcroft is not the Trent and very dirty because of all the feeding carp. A cotton hanky is an amazing cooling down method in hot weather.

“Yes, but its a dry heat”

By 1 pm I was dizzy and feeling a little sick, I realised I had a touch of sun-stroke. I packed up, got the air-con in the car going and headed home. So this is a little plea to all my followers. Its so easy to sit out in the sun during the summer and not think about cancer, why would you. But I have had a girlfriend and son-in-law die from melanoma so its close to home. If you must wear shorts, put some heavy duty sun cream on. If you must wear a tee shirt do the same. The best way is to cover up totally, you can buy light cotton called linen its light and has UV properties that will protect you from the suns rays.

I’m back on Friday if its under 28 deg.