Sunday, 31 January 2010

Zedlets! - Part two.

It was very cold last night and I had a big decision to make, with regards to todays fishing venue, do I go to Ryton or the canal both of which could be iced up, or, do I go to the river that won't be frozen. I didn't fancy the river and I didn't look at Ryton but after seeing the amount of ice at Meadowlands just up the road it would have looked pretty much the same. I settled on the canal again but had doubts as to how liquid it was going to be and on arrival I had a walk down to the bend with the reeds , I'd fished only yesterday evening and now it was solid with ice. The only section free of ice along the whole stretch I walked was the flight of locks down to the Blue Lias, I had no choice but to fish these or go home but seeing as I had caught one small Zander here yesterday, I thought I'd give it a few hours. Fishing the same spot, half Roach baits were thrown into the deeper parts in front of the gates and the overflow weir and it wasn't too long before the first small Zander was on the bank, over the next couple of hours I had runs and takes from a further three Zeds (also lost one at the net) as well as one small Pike.

The largest Zed was just over 18 inches and I don't think they would get much bigger living in such a confined space but I'm not sure about the Pike.

This Pike was small but I had a strange take that made me think that there was something bigger lurking around in there. I had the float pull down sharply but stop level with the waters surface, after a short while it moved off to one side by a foot but rather than being patient and wait for the run to develop, I decided to hit it and struck the rod up and immediately felt a weight that thumped back, then nothing! the rig came in clean with no bait, a couple of inches of wire trace just above the single treble was all coiled up and I thought it might have been a bigger Pike, I've had traces come in looking like this after missed runs at Ryton.

I wonder how big it was?

Saturday, 30 January 2010


Zedlets - Small Zander no bigger than 2lb in weight.
That's what I was catching this afternoon, the session started at Long Itchington heading up the flight of locks towards Napton fishing a few spots along the way. I've been wanting to have a look along this stretch for a while but there was a fair amount of ice around and not many boats had gone through so there weren't that many spots free to fish. A couple of locks up from the Blue Lias I saw a spot in front of one of the overflow weirs that looked very fishy and I soon had a bait cast over, I was pleasantly surprised at the depth, around five foot and even more surprised when I started getting some strange movements on the float, I knew straight away what was causing these and it wasn't long before I had a small Zander in the net.

I continued to fish between the locks on my way up the canal, the water movement near the gates kept these parts free of ice but after an hour or so of trying I had no more interest in the deadbaits so I continued to move along the canal towards a spot I'd seen on Google Earth last night.
I eventually reached the bend in the canal with a heavy growth of Reeds and Bullrushes along the side of the towpath, this spot looked better than I thought and the depth in front of the reeds was good, not long after casting in the first half a Roach, I had a twitch on the float and then some movement showing that another Zed was interested, a few minutes later, Zander number two was on the bank, another small fish but with the temperature dropping as the sun set I was more than happy to catch them at this size.

I put another fresh bait out onto the same spot and after about ten minutes it was off again with another small one, it was whilst I was dealing with this fish that I spotted my other float giving a twitch and then start to drift around, another Zander of similar size was soon on the bank bringing the afternoon's total to four fish.

I did have plans to fish on into darkness, but with my landing net taking on some weird shapes due to the frost and the big full moon rising into a clear sky, it was only going to get colder, I called it a day.

Friday, 29 January 2010

New film on 'You Tube'

On some of my fishing trips I like to take a video camera and I always save any footage I take until this time of year to edit into short films. One day last summer I shot some footage whilst fly fishing for Carp at Jubilee and I've just finished and uploaded a short film to 'You Tube', click the link below to view.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Itching for a Zed!

On my last outing I missed a couple of runs from what I thought were Zander, this weekend, I thought I'd try and bank one.
On Saturday, I fished the Tusses stretch of canal in Coventry, my Zander catches along this stretch had been fairly reliable through the autumn, I only had a few hours but stayed until dark and fished a few spots that had a bit of depth and cover, but nothing sniffed at the baits and I blanked, it was a case of the wrong place with not enough time to find them, so, on Sunday I decided to head back to the stretch of canal at Long Itchington to see if my luck would change.
I started the session at the same spot as last week putting a Roach into the main channel where I'd had both runs the previous week, a second bait was put into the deeper hole in front of the lock gates where I was convinced a few Zander would be and it wasn't long before this bait was away. The few tentative tugs on the float developed into a proper take which I struck and after a few head shakes a Zed pulled a healthy curve into my Avon rod, I soon had the fish under control and in the net. (this year, Avon rods are my chosen weapons for Zander.)
At 24 inches, it was a healthy looking fish of around three to four pounds, a good start.

I quickly returned the fish and put a fresh bait back onto the same spot hoping for another quick bite but an hour passed before the first of many boats made their way down through the locks disturbing the swim, with this I decided to make a move and try a few more deeper spots. A couple of hours passed fairly quickly and I'd not moved that far, only trying the two gates below the Blue Lias, I eventually made my way back to where I started and fished the centre channel again. At around half three I had a very short run which I thought might have been a Pike the way it stopped, I waited for the run to continue but nothing developed and the day ended with just the one Zander.

Itch scratched!

Sunday, 17 January 2010


Today was nice and mild with bright sunshine and compared to some of the weather we've had recently was perfect for a few hours of fishing. I knew the level in the river would be up after Saturday's rain and the melt water from all the snow. I thought Ryton would be worth a look at and maybe one of the canals but they'd been frozen solid over the Christmas break so I wasn't feeling lucky. Most of Ryton was solid with ice, one corner was clear but with all the condemned pegs in that corner, peg choice was limited, plus one of them was already occupied by an angler, one too many for the size of water available!. Time for a change of plan and venue, the canal at the Blue Lias wasn't that far away, the ice here was all smashed up from boat activity so there were a few clear spots including one in front of a set of lock gates which looked to good not to have a chuck, Barry had done well along this stretch on Christmas day catching three Zed's in a hole in the ice so I felt quite confident, plus I'd brought a pack of frozen Roach with me in case Ryton wasn't fishable, their perfect for Zed's so I baited up with these and set my sights on a Zander.
It was a good few hours before I had my first sniff at the bait, I'd tried the deeper holes in front of the gates and the weir on the far side of them and then along the line of rushes on the far bank and not had a touch, bait time in the water was limited by the chunks of ice, like icebergs, drifting around in the wind, at times I managed to sink my line and stay on a spot for about ten minutes before I had to reel in and recast. A couple of boats went through breaking up the ice a bit more so I brought the float back across the canal to the slightly deeper main channel and started to fish this line, it was whilst I was chatting with another angler, Gary, that I noticed the first twitch on the float, there were a few more twitches then whatever it was lost interest, I tried moving the bait a few inches to induce a take but the float didn't move. After checking the bait and recasting to the same spot and it wasn't long before it was off again, this time there were a couple of tugs and then a positive run with the float getting dragged under a sheet of ice, not wanting the float to go too far under the ice I struck but hit nothing.

Another blank but at least I had a run which shows the fish are willing to feed in the cold.
Something I did notice was how light it was at 5pm this evening!!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Frozen Reactions

A very cold end to my holiday, it's back to work next week and I thought a few hours on the bank might help to ease the back to work blues, I was hoping to bag a Chub or two but it was it was going to hard to find a bite in the freezing conditions. The wind wasn't strong but coming from the north east, it had a cold chill to it and the ground under my knee's was still frozen solid but I did have the sun in my face which helped to keep me warm.

Bites were very thin on the ground and I missed every one of them, even the rod wrenching pull I had just after I took this photo of my rod tips with the sun setting behind them, I don't know how I missed it!!

Friday, 1 January 2010

New year tradition

For many years It's been a tradition of mine to go fishing on the first day of the new year, so seeing as I'd been doing well on the river I thought I'd see if I could catch myself a Chub or two to bring in the new 'angling' year.
It was a frosty start and there was a good two foot of extra water in the river and plenty of colour, the level was dropping as there were sheets of ice in the field where the level had been up to so I was hoping that the fish might be up for a feed. I walked to the furthest point I'd planned to go and started with a feeder of groundbait and chunk of bread flake on the edge of the main flow, I put a second rod out, again with bread flake and only a couple of swan shot to just hold bottom, I allowed it to trundle around and find it's own spot in front of the reeds hopefully where the Chub would be. After an hour it was time for a move as nothing was biting at this swim, the next spot was somewhere I'd caught from earlier in the week so I had to give it a try, then some visitors arrived.
After a quick social with Merv and Phil who were exploring this stretch of river, I got back to the job at hand which was to catch a Chub and it was several moves back up the river before I finally bagged one.
I'd done well on this last swim just before Christmas bagging three Chub from this one spot. About two thirds of the way across the river is a line of bull rush roots with a nice glide between them and the far bank, the pace was a little slower than the main flow so I put the feeder over to the far bank and allowed it to drop into the channel and settle, a nice bend was pulled into the quiver tip, after a few minutes of watching the tip nod and tap from the remains of the bull rush stems knocking the line there was a single sharp tug on the tip before everything fell slack as the feeder pulled free of it's grip on the bottom. I reeled down and struck into a Chub which gave a reasonable scrap as it tried to bury itself into the bull rush roots but with some steady pressure I coaxed it across the flow and into the waiting net.

With this swim now disturbed I moved onto the next with the hope of bagging one more Chub but with the temperature dropping and my landing net frozen from the frost it was time to call it a day.