Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Cardinal 44

This was my Uncle David's reel, and although it was replaced with a more modern version a few times through the years this is the one I remember from fishing with him when I was a kid; an Abu Cardinal 44, 1973 (3rd edition 44) with original teardrop bail.

Sadly my Uncle died a couple of years ago and I found the reel in one of his many tool boxes inside one of his many sheds. It was dirty and hard to turn but I had to take it, perhaps restore it?

Disassembled, cleaned, oiled and reassembled - was all that was needed - they made them to last in Sweden in those days! Spooled up I grabbed a loaf of bread and headed out after my Uncle's favourite species - a chub...

A barbel was first to crash the party but after a bit of wandering about I found what I was looking for. This one's for Uncle D.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

January Blues

January apathy has set in, looking back through the blog it seems to have become a yearly tradition. I have been out a few times but it's been pretty uninspiring stuff!

James and I ventured down to The Frome but the water conditions were horrible, we both caught grayling but they were small - James did eventually land one worth a photo but it was hard work. To make matters worse I spotted a very rare Frome pike - the first time this season I haven't had any pike gear with me..!

I had an hour chasing gudgeon locally, landing six to 2.2oz - a promising start. Followed by couple of hours rolling meat for four chub to about 4lb and an eel getting on for 2lb, biggest for quite a while and my second one rolling.

But I'm bored with apathy now, have work to do but the entire design industry is pretty lazy in January - plenty of time to go fishing. Just need to let this snow wash through and get back on it...

Thursday, 29 December 2016


With the pike fishing proving tricky Steve, Dylan and myself crossed the boarder into Wales...

With a heavy frost last night, and the temperature not poking much above zero today, we planned on doing some ice fishing fly fishing..!

Stocked fish but it's catch and release so they'd seen it all before - and they didn't want to move much in the cold water...

Personally I thought we were mad - fly fishing in this - but we did find a few fish and a great day was had by all...

And hopefully we'll be back in the spring sunshine!

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Wye Christmas 2

When some anglers dream of fishing they dream of summer afternoons, hot weather, bubbling tench and cruising carp. I dream of winter mornings, crisp frost and thick fog. And pike.

This morning me and Steve headed out into a perfect morning on The Wye - the pike are playing tough to catch but there might be a monster in the mist...

And Steve had a run and was into a pike while we were still setting the kit up. At 15lb 8oz it was a great way to start, perhaps they were switched on today?

It's worth noting this one fell to one of Steve's favourite pike baits; a mackerel fillet, yeah fillet - I've used whole mackerel, heads, tails and even the middle section but just haven't had the confidence to use fillets - works for Steve, and now it's on my list.

If one was feeding hopefully there were more - we walked miles putting a deadbait in every likely looking hole (and chucking a few lures about) but nothing else wanted to play...

It wasn't until we were packing up as the sun was setting before I had a missed run, a new sprat was quickly cast out while the lure rod was broken down - and it was away. All day but a 14lb 0oz reward was totally worth it - best of the season so far!

Yeah there is blood on the pike - mine! I get caught by the gill rakers fairly regularly and occasionally by the teeth, but this is the first time a pike has ever clamped down and shook - it's like getting your fingers caught in a spiked vice... poor bleak!

Monday, 26 December 2016

Wye Christmas

I've had very little time on the water for the last month or so, and I was really looking forward to wetting a line on my home-turf River Wye over the Christmas break.

So despite being full of cold I thrashed the water to a foam lure fishing for 5 hours on Christmas Eve, I could watch the lure right across the river in the clear water - and despite being really happy with how I fished I couldn't provoke a follow let alone a take.

Today I thought I'd float a sprat about for a couple of hours - and after Roger suggested a move I finally had a run. The float bobbed before sailing off. The pike stayed deep with one spectacular jump - 10lb 9oz - one run, one fish, it's a start...

Friday, 16 December 2016

Jack S...!

Christmas is coming and it's been almost a month since I've been fishing so I jumped at the offer of two or three days chub fishing with James on The Stour.

Things didn't go to plan, it was a struggle. I didn't manage a chub with a trotting day and a bait and wait evening, I didn't hear of anyone else landing a chub either. Except James - the only chub in the river?

Day two and I wasn't really feeling it - so while James went after chub - I went on a lure chucking mission! I nearly always pack a few lures on away days.

While James worked very hard for a second chub. I walked miles and miles for a half a dozen follows and a couple of jacks - love pike and love catching them on lures - so can't complain.

The pike were covered in leaches where they hadn't moved much, the other fish were probably lethargic as well in these weird up-n-down, hot-n-cold winter conditions...

In an uncharacteristicly sensible decision we opted not to struggle through a third day - I probably should go Christmas shopping tomorrow anyway!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Red Two: Part 3

The alarm went off at stupid o'clock, the bed was warm and the cat was very cuddly. It was pitch black outside.

Under the streetlights I could see the cars were covered in frost, it was bloody cold out there, I needed a cup of tea.

There was no milk, the note-to-self that read 'buy milk' was still on the kitchen counter. Going back to bed wasn't even tempting.

Why do we get up this early in the morning to travel miles to sit in the middle of nowhere, on the riverbank, often on our own and often in the cold?

1lb 11oz top photo and 1lb 9oz above (complete with arty leaf).

1lb 8½oz, getting my eye in for roach photos...

Roach number four, 1lb ½oz, still on my pound plus roll.

My 1lb 15oz friend (recapture), the Old Bruiser.

And pound plus roach number six, 1lb 3oz, to end on. Proper - worth the early start, cold, wet - brilliant - red letter day!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Silver Darts 3

Trotting for dace a bit closer to home, I don't expect to find my target pounder here but perhaps I can beat my PB?

OK, I'd have to remember my scales to do that - but still it was a great autumn afternoon.

Plenty of dace to about 8oz, a couple of chub, trout and a little roach - lots of fun, perhaps I should forget the scales more often...

Friday, 18 November 2016

Red Two: Part 2

Last Saturday morning James and I headed out for some floodwater trotting, I ended up with a dozen roach to just under a pound (and a surprise barbel). What struck me was the roach were up in the water, the bottom was gudgeon territory.

This morning it was an early start, a couple of trains and an exercise in patience - I hadn't brought a torch and although I could set everything else up I couldn't tie the size 18 until I had enough daylight!

Three hours of trotting later, 2 trout and 2 minnows were on the books but I was running out of time - then the bite I was waiting for, a roach and it looked like the two I was after (I saw it as she lodged herself under a weedbed).

Gently pulled through the weeds, a couple of lunges and she was safely resting in the net while I set up the camera and zeroed the scales. A very different shape to last weeks, this one was longer, thick but lacked depth - last weeks was fresh off the mint, this one was an old bruiser.

The scales rested just shy of the magic number, I had to settle for 1lb 15oz, but a beautiful bronze fish I really couldn't complain - Getting closer!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Night Pike

I've always thought of pike as mid-afternoon feeders, they don't get up that early and they're pretty efficient once they get started.

In my experience on a winter's day the best time is just after lunch until an hour before dark - we all fish that magic hour into dark - it works for other species but pike are done (they are off doing secret pike stuff).

A week or so ago me and James hit the river well after dark (to be honest you couldn't fish here during the day it would be far too busy). And float-wobbled deadbaits did the trick, three pike landed - no doubles but they're in here...

The water is gin-clear and the river is very well lit, are the pike hunting the silhouettes? We'll need to get back for a couple more rounds to find out.

What are your experience with night pike?