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.
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...
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!
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...
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!
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!
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.