Saturday April 28th – Roswell Pits

Had a lovely day at Roswell pits today. Check out my first ever video diary below

Hope you enjoyed the video diary. I am going to do some tweaks with the videos as I gain more experience, so keep an eye on the website.

Overall it was a cracking days fishing and looking forward to returning soon.

Highlight of the day for me, was a brace of rudd, Biggest 2ib!

 

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Another river season comes to an end for me….

Well I booked three days of work and decided to go on a few pike sessions out in the Fens, as not had a proper go for them since January.

The drains I fished were,  The Middle Level, Forty Foot and a local land drain.

These sessions were very disappointing, but I was able to manage a lovely jack pike from the forty foot.  Everywhere else,  I blanked.

It didn’t help as we had just got over the “Beast From The East” winter snap, and the drains were not in the best form. If it wasn’t the snow melt, it was the heavy rain. They were pumping very hard and very coloured.

After speaking to a few anglers, I was happy to know, I was not the only one who was struggling!

Anyway, overall I had a great season, and managed to smash my Catfish pb, which was a highlight, as well as experiencing a fantastic red letter day tench fishing on the forty foot, on the first day of the season.

I have a couple more zander sessions on a still water to come, before I hang up the predator rods for a while, so keep an eye on my website.

As from April, I will be bringing out the beachcasters I have, for a spot of sea fishing.

Then as from June 16th, I will be digging out the feeder rods and be back on the drains and rivers, after the bream and tench.

In the meantime, keep an eye on my website, as I will no doubt be fishing a few still waters and commercials between May and June.

Tight lines to everyone!

 

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Sunday March 4th – Final River Cam Winter Chub Session

After my last Chub session, I had a text from a friend of mine who I haven’t seen for a long time. He saw my success from the last session, and fancied a go himself, so off we went.

We arrived at dawn, and started off in my favourite spot of the stretch. Within minutes of my first cast, I had a lovely pull down on the rod and hooked into a lump. It scrapped for a bit, and then the hook pulled out. Was gutted.

We gave it a bit longer, but it had gone dead. We then decided to move the next swim.

We had baited up the area and cast the rods out. My friend rod tip hooped round, and he struck into something, then there was an almighty crack and he had succeeded in breaking his rod! Looking a bit red faced, he brought the rod in (Now in two halves) and a lovely chub around 2ib was on the end. Lovely fish, if a bit expensive for him!

We had a couple more takes, but missed them. We tried a few more swims, but blanked. We gave it a couple more hours, then moved back to the swim we started off in, as given it a chance to rest after missing the fish earlier. I chucked a few cheese paste samples out, and cast out the rod.  I had a couple of taps on the tip, the rod hooped round. I struck into the fish and was finally in. A fish just over 2ib.

After the rod breaking on him earlier, he was able to do a temporary fix and cast back out (With the aid of sellotape!) but it was starting to break apart again, so he headed home.

I carried on fishing, but moved to another location on the stretch, where I have been very successful.

After arriving at the spot, I chucked out some lumps of cheese paste and cast the rod out. After about twenty minutes I had a couple of timid taps on the tip, then it hooped round. I struck down into the fish, and was in. Weighed it, and it was just over 3ib.

It was a lovely clean fish aswell. I threw some more cheese paste out, and within ten minutes of recasting, I was into my second fish.

Not as big as the first one, but it still was a pristine fish.

Overall it was a cracking days fishing, and great to get two fish from the same swim, even better straight after the snow melt.

Will be back again with luncheon meat in the summer.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday February 25th – The Arthur Rank Hospice Predator Cup Charity Match.

Poster A4 v2266

It was fantastic to be doing this again, but no fish for me.

Click on the link below, to get a report of the days fishing.

//www.arhc.org.uk/news-item.asp?$=1212&o=1

Tight Lines!

 

 

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Sunday February 11th – First Winter Chub Session On The River Cam.

Well, I have been seeing a few nice chub coming out the River Cam over the last few weeks, so fancied a bit of the action on my favourite stretch of the river. I invited another angling friend of mine, who has never fished this stretch of the River Cam before, who jumped at the chance.

I picked him up, just after 7am, and we got to the river just after half past seven.

On arrival the river looked perfect.  Lovely colour in it, and a slight breeze blowing.  I set the rod, and baited up with cheese paste.

Before I cast out, I chucked a few cubes of paste out and left it for a ten minutes, then cast the leger setup out.

Within minutes, the rod hooped round and I was into my first fish, I felt it kick, then the line went slack. The 4.4ib hook length had snapped at the knot.

After this mishap, I changed to a straight through setup, using 6ib line with a size 8 wide gape hook. I had no more bites in this swim, but my mate had a knock, but missed it. I tried a second swim, but nothing else.

We worked our way along the river as the day want on, but the conditions were getting harder. The wind speed increased, and made it more difficult to cast out and tell whether bites were genuine or not, due to the tips bouncing about, then there was a sharp snow and hail shower, which didn’t help, but we kept going.

Around lunchtime, things started to improve, the wind dropped slightly and my mate was into his first fish. A lovely little jack pike on his lure rod.

In the final couple of hours I lost a second fish. It succeeded in biting through the line. I am thinking it may of been a eel, or even a rogue pike. Gutted at losing the second fish of the day, I was beginning to get frustrated and wondering where I was going wrong, but i stuck with the methods I was using.

The last hour of daylight, I had a couple of nice knocks on the rod, then it looped round and I struck into a fish.

Determined not to lose it, I eventually netted it.

A lovely, plump, chub graced the net. After a couple of photos, and releasing the fish back into the depths, I recast and was into my second fish within minutes, but it dropped the hook.

After losing this fish, the swim went dead and the daylight was slowly disappearing, so reluctantly we headed back to the car.

The only chub of the day, but was worth it!

Overall it was a very hard days fishing, but was worth it.

Will be heading back in March, for another go.

 

 

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Tuesday February 6th – Ely Ouse (Town Centre)

Not used my feeder rod, for a while so dug it out of the shed and had a go after the roach and skimmers that shoal up regularly in this stretch, this time of year.

I met a mate down there around 9am, and we both had a chat and setup the kit. Fishing started around 10am.

The conditions were very hard. Very cold to the point it was in the minuses, and the sun was quite bright aswell. We were getting bites, but they were very finicky.

It was great to catch up with my friend, but the fishing wasn’t the best. I only managed two roach and my mate  had a few more.

Will hopefully get back for another session, before the season ends.

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Thursday 25th January – Red Letter ‘Evening’ on a Fenland Drain!

I am lucky enough to get out fishing one evening week, and as you know this time of year I use this time to target the zander.

I had text from a friend, who fancied a session, and of course I obliged.

We had intended to give Well Creek a go, but on this occasion we decided to change our plans and visit the Middle Level.

We chose an area which was very close to my friends heart. He lost his father last year, and this particular area, was one of his favourite spots.

We arrived just after six, and the conditions were perfect. Slight breeze, and not too cold. My friend had three rods and I had two.

We were there just over an hour, then my friends buzzer, on the right hand rod broke the fenland silence with a couple of beeps, then a screaming run. He picked the rod up and struck into the fish.

After a few minutes and battling with the fish, and almost losing it in the reeds, a lovely pike broke the surface and graced the net.

As soon as I picked the fish up, I had a feeling it was an upper double or maybe a twenty.

After getting stuck in the mud, and almost losing a boot, I scrambled up the bank and helped my friend unhook the fish, we took some photos and weighed it.

My inclinations were right, and it was 20ib on the nose!

As you can imagine, my friend was over the moon, and it was his first twenty from the level and in the night. After releasing the fish, we simply had to have a celebratory brew!

Beautifully marked fenland twenty.

After about half an hour and settling down after the excitement of the pike, my left hand rod beeped once. At first I thought it was a bit of weed, then a couple of minutes it beeped not once, but twice.  On the second beep, I clambered down the bank and struck into the fish.

At first I thought it was a jack pike, but my friend was standing next to me, with the net and saw it roll.

He then shouted ‘It’s a zed!’ at this point I could feel the excitement bursting to come out of me, as this could be the first zed I have had from the level, for quite a few years.

I kept calm and played the fish into the net. As soon as the fish was in the net, I said ‘You are right it is a zed!’ and that’s when the excitement came out of me.

We both cheered and high fived each other. It was a lovely feeling, to see one of these now rather elusive fish come out of the level . We were both buzzing.

Not only had we had a caught lovely pike, we also caught a gorgeous zed aswell in the same night, and from a very hard drain. These sessions are quite rare these days!

After taking some photos, we released the Zed back into the depths, put the kettle on and reminisced on our success.

Lovely 7ib 12oz Zander

These two were the only fish we had, but it was by far the best fenland evening session I have had for a very long time, and in great company.

We most definitely will be back here very, very soon!

 

 

 

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Saturday 13th January – Back on the drains!

Well it has been a while since ventured back onto the drains after the pike, due to all the rain, wind and extremely cold weather we have been having, and also waiting for the drains to fine down, it was time to get back on them.

I decided to do the roving approach, as the particular drain I visited is perfect for this.

I arrived just before Sunrise and started the walk to the first swim.  Once I had arrived I fished it for an hour or so, but it was very quite.  I kept this up all day, aiming to cover as much water possible, which was definitely the way to go, as I found out.

After a good few hours walking, and stopping at various locations I found a perfect open swim. I cast one rod out to the right of me, baited with Sardine and the second rod with Smelt. After about the half an hour, the float dipped on the second rod and slowly disappeared into the depths. I wound down and struck into the fish, minutes later I was awarded with a lovely upper double on the bank. All 15ib 60z of it!

This was the only fish I had, but worth the hours put in, trying to find them.

 

It was a very short, thickset fish and I think she will be a very big fish in years to come. Great fun, and hoping for few more of these in the last couple of months of the river season.

 

 

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Wednesday 10th January – Yet another Zed session!

Had my usual evening fishing session, so as usual went after the Zeds, as the conditions seemed perfect.

Finished work at half five and arrived at the river just before seven. Conditions were perfect nice cloud cover, slight breeze and comfortable. It was a bit of a contrast, as last time I went, it was bloody freezing!

After I had settled in, I put the kettle on for a brew, the right hand rod beeped a couple of times, then it turned into a one toner. Struck into the fish and  in it came, another zed.

It wasn’t as big as the last one I caught on my previous visit, but very welcome and a lovely little fish.

This was the only action I had all evening, but cannot complain.

Great to be catching these again!

 

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My 2017 Zander Quest in a Nutshell

Well as regular visitors are aware, I really enjoy my pike fishing, but the zander has more of an edge for me and can be a challenge, which I enjoy, and thought it would be fitting to write purely about my recent zander exploits, as my normal pike sessions I write for the diary this time of year have been rather unsuccessful recently.

My last zander from the drains came to me back in December 2015, when I had a stunner from the twenty foot drain. Despite regular trips to the fenland rivers and drains, each year from September to February, I have been very unsuccessful in getting this now rather elusive fish. I am still trying to find out why.

However, this year, I think it might actually be starting to look up for the fenland zander.

Back in August, I bumped into an angler, who was lure fishing and was catching loads of juvenile zeds from the Ely Ouse in the town centre.

Not long after that, a friend of mine took his nephew out, and he was fortunate to land a small zed on dead bait, from the same area. I wanted a piece of the action, but was unfortunate, I just had a small pike.

I have also heard various reports about Zander showing up in the middle level drain more frequently aswell.

 

Due to being unsuccessful on various occasions, I decided to go back to the drawing board and review my methods, using the internet and experimenting with different setups.
After trying various methods, I found one I was happy with.

I tried it out Roswell Pits a well known zander water, and was successful in landing two zeds and one pike on the same night, back in October. As you can imagine, I was very happy.

I returned a couple of weeks later, and had yet another zander and a pike.

Obviously my new methods had worked, so I will explain what adjustments I have made below. Nothing complicated really. All I have done, is fine down my usual pike and catfish rigs.

Line 

I always tend to use 15ib mono, not a big fan of braid for zander fishing, due to it not being able to stretch, and can also cause some resistance. I also have the rods pointing at an angle, in a dead straight line towards the water, again to minimise resistance.

Terminal Tackle

I use a sliding ledger setup using Fox RAGE Predator run rings and buffer beads, rigged up with Size 10 ten semi barbed trace connected to a Fox RAGE Kwik change trace link, so I can change traces with ease, if needed. I also modify the run rings, by adding a tiny small feeder clip, so I can change my leads to different sizes with ease.

Bait

I use small dead baits. In this case, I was using bleak and roach.

Bite Detection

I use the Fox  swinger arm system with the sliding weight set as close to the bank stick clamp as possible, to minimise resistance, I also adjust the bait runner to the lowest setting possible, i.e. enough for the ledger weight to drop to the floor without any assistance, and in a smooth, timely process. Sounds technical I know, but works for me.

Happy with the new methods, I wanted to put these into use on a proper fen drain, but again failed!

I think on that particular occasion, the amount of silver fish in the area probably gave the zander more of a better option, then my dead baits on the bottom. I think if I was using live baits, the results would of been different.

After scratching my head and trawling the internet, I finally found a couple of venues which has been consistent in producing zander recently.

These were the River Nene and Well Creek.

So I decided to make the drive after work one evening in December, to Well Creek.

On arrival, the river looked perfect, and I was feeling positive.

I cast the rods out. In the first hour I was there, I had a couple of dropped takes. I wound the baits in, and could see those classic puncture marks. I am convinced these were schoolie zander passing through and chasing the silver fish, as could hear fish scattering on the surface in the darkness.

With hopes high, I made a slight tweak to the bait runner, and within minutes I had another take, and this was a proper one toner. I wound down and struck into the fish. I hooked into and could feel the characteristic head shake of a zed, but without warning the fish dropped off. Gutted, I checked the trace, and replaced it with a new one. Size 10 again.

It went quite for an hour or so, then the right hand rod beeped a couple of times, then screamed off. I wound down and struck into the fish, it was on. The fish was keeping low, and was shaking it’s head, I could feel my heart pumping as had a feeling it was my target species. It then broke the surface. My headlight caught the fish, and then those eyes. I knew it was a zed. At the point of cheering, I kept calm and landed the fish. Once landed I cheered. Sad I know, but it has been a long time!

I admired the fish, took a photo and let her go. unfortunately I forget to weigh it, but at a guess I reckon it was between 5 and 7ib.

After a brew, I recast and sat under the umbrella reminiscing my success, then the rod screamed off again. Hoping it was another zander, but it was lovely little pike.

After releasing the pike. I packed up the gear and headed home, as didn’t want to get snowed in. I reckon if I stayed longer, I would of caught a couple more. I am definitely going to keep trying this venue for the zeds, hoping for that specimen one day, watch this space!

What about the fenland zander now?

I was happy with what I had, but it took a lot of work and time to find them.

It just proves they are still out there in the fens, but not in the numbers they once were. We just need to work that little bit harder to find them.

However, as for the Ely Ouse, it was good to see the high number of juveniles come out this year, so it could again, produce those big fish in the future. I certainly will keep at it!

Anyway Tight Lines and a Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

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