Monday 31 October 2011


As you may have gathered by the ridiculously cheesy headline of this blog, this weeks angling adventure is again in pursuit of pike. A grey but very mild Sunday saw me making an early start to gather a good amount of live bait for an afternoon's croc fishing on the Exeter canal.

I was joined by my like minded skate and angling pal Ad Wallace, thankfully we were able to grab some decent sized baits fairly quickly which left us a good window of time to try and tempt Ads first pike. I was hoping we would hook a few over the course of the session so I could teach Ad about handling and unhooking; a practice that is essential for the well being of the pike. They may look tough and mean but the reality is they are a very delicate and fragile species that don't take well to being ponced around with on the bank.

We decided to travel light, dropping into each swim for no longer than half an hour in a bid to cover a decent amount of water, with a rod each and all the necessary tools (unhooking mat, forceps etc...) we made our way up the tow path. Rig wise I opted for the ultra effective sub-float paternoster.
This presentation may sound very complicated and technical but it is very simple to set up.

With a pike each during the first half hour we were onto a flyer! A small jack pour moi and a lean eight pounder for Ads; who was very happy to capture his first pike! Onwards forth to our next spot where we bumped into Ty and Neil who had caught bugger-all fishing dead-baits all morning.
After a bit of a chat and a brew with the lads, me and Ads made our way to another swim. We passed 2 more pike anglers who were also finding dead-baiting to be very slow with one jack on the bank between them all day.

I'll try not to sound like to much of a smug git now but we dropped into a swim about 50 yards up from them and banked 3 pike in quick succession! 2 more for Ads and the greediest little pike I have ever caught.
What a  beauty!

I was very pleased with the days outcome; a hatrick for Ads which is a good result on a day where others had struggled. With 5 pike banked Ads had gained some good experience and was very confident with handling and caring for the pike during the unhooking process. I'm sure he will go on to do alot more pike fishing this winter.

This week I also attended my first PAC meeting where local angling writer Dominic Garnet provided interesting musings and photographs focusing on alternative methods such as fly fishing and wobbling naturals,(A method I will be trying soon) Check out Doms website

                                     Here's a dusty old picture of my live bait pb for ol' times sake.
                                                      Caught from a secret location.

                                                                           Til next time

                                                                              Be lucky

Thursday 20 October 2011


It would seem summer has passed us by in the blink of an eye. (not that we've had much of one) Soon the clocks will go forward stealing another hour of daylight from our lives. My recent fishing trips have been in pursuit of giant still water perch. I have fished a variety of local waters which I know from past experience contain good perch. My main approach has been fishing with live baits to avoid the other species.Yes I have caught a few stripeys but nothing worth shouting about. Over the last week, I've put in alot of hours perching with not much success.

I needed a day off the still waters so with the new pike season kicking off why not have a crack at a croc or two on the Exeter canal. I was joined by fellow addicts Ty and Neil and we had spent the majority of the morning catching live baits which I find have a much quicker response than deads on the canal especially early on in the season.With a decent selection of roach in the live well and a good supply of dead baits we set about our way to spend the afternoon on the Lime kilns when shock horror... the flippin' gates have been locked to stop pikeys tipping shite all over the shop. Well bang goes that plan which will play its part later on in the story.

With the weather on the turn we decided to try the pensioners stretch and shelter under the trees but catfish man Malcolm was bivvied up in the spot; change of plan again, we finally settled right at the top of the road. As we started to set up the heavens opened up, hailstones poured down as we rigged up in hurry before taking shelter in the car.

On one rod I used a live roach presented paternoster style with a sub float under the water ( a good way of presenting baits over a weedy bottom ) on the other I set up a simple running rig with a popped up mackerel; again to keep my bait away from the weed.

Half an hour or so later the roach rod was away, I was into my first croc of the season, a very powerful pike which I presumed to be a double whilst playing it. I was wrong when a pike of around 6.5lb was slipped into the net. A good start to the session! however over the next hour we constantly had to move our rods to avoid the plague of Exeter uni students in there big ass canoes. I'm not generalising people that go to Exeter uni but the majority of run ins I've have had with the rowers, they've turned out to be rude dismissive upstarts that seem to look down at anglers as inferior beings. Anyway after some divvy ploughed through Ty's rods (even though we had warned him!) enough was enough.

A short hop across the road saw us treading mud on the banks of the tidal not far off the sewage works; not the nicest of places to fish but no rowers would interrupt us down these parts. A bitter wind started hacking down stream and it started to get very cold.

Winter is definitely on its way, my fingers were starting to go numb when a faint shouting was heard drowned by the heavy gusting of the wind. Upon investigating the noise it turned out Neil was into a good fish.The coldness left my body as the excitement took over. I ran back to my rods to wind in so I could take some photos of Neils fish, (if he lands it that is) at this point we had still not seen whatever had taken the sardine but the bend in the rod and crunching sound of a heavily set clutch indicated a heavy fish was on the end.

The pike eventually decided to show itself and its acrobatic abilities by tail walking a couple of times before she was safe in the net. MY GOD!!! there lay the biggest pike I had ever seen in my life, it didn't look real. She looked every bit a 30lb-er, We all started dancing around the bank like idiots. Neil looked absolutely gobsmacked!

I piped up saying "you've got a 30 and a new river record I reckon mate" as we lay the beast in the sling "here we go". I lifted her up for Neil and Ty to check the scales. The needle span round and round before settling on 29lb 2oz. I couldn't believe she wasn't a 30 but hey its only a number. After subtracting the weight of the sling she turned out to be 28lb 3oz ( we used 3 different sets of scales ) As Neil held her in the water for one final perv; the look on his face said it all (he was having an internal joygasm) before she powered  off to go and have a sulk.

I'm glad the gates to the kilns were locked!

Til next time,

Tight lines y'all

Monday 3 October 2011


As I write this piece I am unfortunately in some pain. Earlier this morning I had an operation on my knee to remove some broken cartilage which was causing my knee to lock.Hopefully the surgery has done the job and I may be able to start skating again in the near future. Further pain was caused by some shocking refereeing from that serial card-brandishing twonk Martin Atkinson; with Jack Rodwell being sent off giving the SCUM! the upper-hand and duly costing the Blues the match in the legendary Mersyside derby.

Well you cant win them all, and with the amount of dirty money them lot have spent, they are still nothing special. Breathe! On a fishing note I have recently been on a 5 day angling binge tackling both still and running waters.

First stop, A 48 hour session at Emperor Lakes.

Me and Ty arrived at around 11.00 am. The heat was sweltering for this time of year which I hoped would stir the cats into a night time feeding frenzy. I went for a quick chat with the head bailiff Paul to see what had been happening on the lake.

He was brutally honest and I quote "the lake had been fishing like a bastard! one fish caught this week".The fish was a 34lb mirror. A fine specimen indeed but that's gonna make for one empty weekly catch report. Paul said it was up to us to show 'em how its done an get him some material for his weekly write up.

I set out to cross swords with one of the big cats, my approach being nothing more than beefed up carp tactics using 3oz leads on a simple running set up. The hook-links were tied using 35lb Nash missing link; a coated braid perfect for combating the catfish's abrasive mouth. At the sharp end the hooks I chose where size 2 ESP Raptor which are razor sharp making them perfect for snagging the tough mouth of the Wels catfish.

I hoped the fish had stopped fasting and would get right on the munch as I went about depositing piles of pre soaked mixed size halibut pellets into 3 different tasty looking spots along the channel between the 2 main islands.
One rod was baited with 4 lob worms, the other 2  rods with double Meteor boiley from CC Moore.
The traps were set it... was now time for some other serious business of getting the radio on to listen to Everton vs Man titty. For the last few seasons we've given them a lesson in football and team spirit beating them both home and away.

Anyway we lost 2 nil which mildly vexed me before I drifted back into the calmness of the lake and my surroundings.To be honest I fully expected city to win this time. The whole day and night remained quiet until a spell of heavy rain hovered over the lake for around 2 hours battering all the lads in bivvys as I watched on through the window of the shed I was camped in (the benefits of swim 2).
With all that rain refreshing the lake I fully expected a bite or 2 during the rest of my stay. As intuition has it I was correct; 2 hours after the down pour one of the boiley rods beeped twice before the bobbin slammed up to the base of the rod as the alarm screeched like a fat tart on the Jeremy Kyle show.
I was sat beside the rods and hit the run instantly. Brief contact was made before the fish did me in a snag I was unaware of. No more action for the rest of the session for us or anyone else fishing on the lake for that matter so sorry Paul.
I think the lake has seen far to much bait as off late and could do with a rest. (Well that's my excuse for blanking anyway).

It was now time to make the transition from still to running water. My dad had planned a two day trip on the rivers Severn and Wye in search of Barbel. We were accompanied by 2 other fishing pals Jordy and Jimma. After a reasonably hassle free trip up the motorway to Worcester we tracked down Allan's fishing tackle shop to purchase the relevant paper work to get on the waters.

The ticket for the Severn only costs £5 and covered all areas down stream of Diglis weir. On arrival we discovered that to get to the river banks its one hell of a walk. after a 'reccy' up and down the banks I decided to fish a swim opposite an old water tower; this being a noted barbel haunt.
The water was clear, deep and had a deceptively strong current flowing over a clean gravel bottom.
The swims along this stretch are hardly accommodating at all with steep banks and not much room to move or sit comfortably. This was jungle warfare but the standard of the fishing greatly out-weighs the bank side niggles. First fish went to our man from the Toon Jordy in the shape of the scabbiest little bream in the river. (bless it).

My first reaction was 'hmmm this is meant to be a barbel swim', I hoped all the hemp I had offered  the barbel was not being mopped up by a shoal of bream.My doubts soon went away as my rod was literally ripped off the stand.I grabbed the butt just in time and waded out a few feet to avoid the line cutting through the marginal vegetation as a strong fish shot down stream like a bullet. I must say that these barbel bites are nothing short of savagery and pretty much unmissable.

The fish fought a valiant battle making a series off long powerful runs. My god can barbel smoke some drag! My reel was singing at the top of its voice- very exciting stuff. After one hell of a fight I had a beautiful Severn barbel lying graciously in my net.After photographing the fish I held her in the water to let her recover from the whole ordeal. Moments later her tail started to kick as she surged from my grasp back to her watery home.

The fish fell for a chunk of my homemade paste which was very pleasing to me. I topped up the swim with more hemp and sent the paste back into the drink. 30 minutes later my rod was in action again with more of the same fight-wise, but a smaller fish this time.

Next in was Jordy with a brutal wrench of a take that took off downstream and parted itself from the hook to our disappointment.We soon lost the light and had a long trek back to the car.
The next morning we headed to Hereford to fish the river Wye.Conditions were far from ideal with beaming sun and low clear water levels. I struggled on the day and had to wait til dusk for a bite which turned out to be a chub around the 4lb mark which took a liking to the paste. I now had one more day before my operation to grab another fish. This time closer to home back on the Exe.After having results on the paste up country I wrapped a Sonubaits garlic and cheese chunk with a golf ball size of my magic paste. I flicked it out into the water followed by a few boileys and pellets. An hour or so later I was into a stubborn fish intent on hugging the bottom and plodding slowly with power towards a danger area of my swim. I tightened the drag and held on. Luckily the fish turned with the pressure and was led into my waiting net minutes later.
A cracking common and another river result.

The past few trips reminded me of  my passion for catching wild fish rather than those cooped up in a lake.
I find it so much more satisfying and rewarding, not to say that still-water fishing is a bit pants (just my personal opinion gained from my own experience).

Til next time

Go make some luck!