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Andrew Pilgrim

What’s in your Bag?

Before Xmas my trusty old bag finally died (who said Sheena?… How dare you!!!). No it was my roving/stalking bag. We had shared many good years bankside in all weathers and to be honest both of us were looking worse for wear and it was touch and go as to which one of us would expire first. Luckily for me it was my old bag. So a replacement was required and much researching was done. The replacement had to fit the following criteria.

1/ Waterproof and rugged

2/ Big enough to accommodate all the essential tackle but not too big as to get filled with pointless stuff that gets carried around for years, just in case, without ever being used.

I settled on the Diawa Wilderness Game Bag No4. (£29.99 from Uttings of Norwich) http://www.uttings.co.uk

Now I am well aware that a blog review of a bag will probably be as dull as dishwater so what I thought I’d do is show you the bag and what I use it to carry, so here goes.

Diawa Wilderness No4 Game Bag.

The bag has a couple of useful side pockets.

In these I have my scales and spare batteries and the other side holds my small yet powerful power pack. both in plastic bags for protection from the elements.

The front of the bag has two further small pockets each with a magnetic flap. These contain the following; one side has my metal tin “Ashtray” (why do people insist on flicking their tab ends in the water?) my spare torches, and most importantly some sustenance should I get peckish.

The other side holds my selection of hooks, spools of Flourocarbon hooklink and some split shot.

Behind these pockets is a long shallow pocket that quite nicely takes my tackle box.

The main compartment is plenty big enough for the remaining essentials such as bait boxes, a flask, rag, and my unhooking mat sits nicely on top. This largest compartment also has a good quality detachable waterproof lining.

At the rear of the bag is one further slim pocket with a zipper. This holds my poncho which is vital should I get caught in an unexpected downpour.

I also carry other items that I have found invaluable.

A bungee cord with clips. This is a fantastic addition ro a river stalkers kit and has many uses. for example – yesterday I fished a swim where there was a long branch crossing at about 9ft high preventing me from lifting my rods up. I hooked this with my landing net and secured it to the trunk using this bungee. in 30 seconds I had made a comfortable swim out of an unfishable one. You will find many uses for a bungee.

Also in my bag is a small tripod that holds my phone. This in conjunction with the “Whistle camera app” enables you to capture better pictures. This tripod performs another vital role as a torch holder. As regular readers of my blogs will have spotted, when Chub fishing, I like to fish into dark, thus making the most of the “Golden Hour”, that wonderful time when dusk turns to dark and the fish bite. My quiver tips are painted white and the tripod holds a small and not very bright torch which is just powerful enough to light up the tips without illuminating the opposite bank and fields for miles as the super powerful ones seem to do. The other bonus of this fantastically crap little torch from Halfords, is the battery life is 20+ hours unlike the 1/2 hours you get from the powerful ones.

Here is a bit of advice – if you use this torch set up always position the torch low and downstream of you with the beam pointing upstream so it is not visible to the fish you are trying to catch. While we are on the subject of light I also carry this handy little lantern which I hang on a bankstick near my left shoulder. This provides enough light for baiting up etc. Note the tape blocking off light to one side again so as not to be visible for the fish.

One other thing I would like to recommend are these tubs.

These are called Lock N Lock and are only a few quid from places such as the Range,. They come in various sizes and are fantastic for holding most of your favourite Chub delicacies.

A smorgasbord fit for any Chub.

The other great thing about these boxes is when you get home from a session they can easily just be put in the freezer ready for the next trip.

So, there we have it my roving bag, and all it contains. So far I am impressed with the quality and and usability. Maybe I will review it again in 10 years to report on its durability, but for now its ‘So far so good’

What do you have in your bag? any tips on vital bits of kit I may be missing?

Why not leave me a comment using the box at the bottom of this page.

Happy Chub hunting.

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Andrew Pilgrim

Frustrating Isn’t it?

Frustrating isn’t it, when you are denied your one pleasure in life, when, in your mind, you have been perfecting a new technique or method and you are dying to try it out, when your tackle is starting to look forlorn and underused and you start to wonder if you may ever use it again?

 I’ve been feeling like this for the last few weeks now and I mentioned this to my beloved Sheena who immediately changed the subject and suggested that I go fishing instead to clear (clean?) my mind, so I did.

Just before lockdown I paid a visit to the River Ter in Essex as part of my quest to fish lots of the forgotten small rivers and streams that Essex has to offer. You can read my blog on this subject here.. https://essexanglers.co.uk/my-secret-stream/

The pretty little River was carrying a bit of extra water and was well coloured, despite that my fishing partner for the day James and we covered about half a mile of water and we both managed to winkle out some tiny Brown Trout.

Now whilst these are not going to impress anyone with their size they make up for it with their enthusiasm, (Sheena has just said she’s going to start calling me her little Trout!) Anyway they put up a spirited little fight on my little 9ft Drennan Acolyte Ultra rod and despite it being a bitter cold day it was a very enjoyable one.

Now, as you know, with this latest lockdown malarkey we are restricted to staying local which is not too bad for me as the Suffolk Stour is but a few miles down the road and I therefore that’s where I headed.

First up was the Mill Pool at Dedham.

Dedham Mill has featured before in my blogs and I will say again what a stunningly beautiful place it is. Although I am yet to encounter any of its larger inhabitants I’m quite confident that it’s just a question of time as I’m sure it holds some great fish. In fact a bit of research throws up talk of big Bream to 8lb+ and other large specimens of other species too, so I shall persevere.

I am finding that most times I visit the river is carrying extra water and is quite challenging. All my recent trips were no different and bites were few and far between. Roach on bread flake and small Chub up to 1lb or so on worm with little interest on my killer paste.

An interesting note is that I usually like to fish into dark 12-6pm ish and when fishing the end of the pool where it shallows and narrows both times I have had a run of bites and fish between 4-4.30pm just as the light is going, and then nothing. There is obviously a shoal of chub leaving the pool or heading into the pool for the night. Further investigation is required.

Also, I was sat at Dedham thinking that I was somewhat crazy fishing in such raging conditions when, in the swim to my left, I noticed two old women adorned in bright swimming gear enter the water and proceed to swim franticly upstream and into my swim, luckily the flow was such that they never quite made it as every time they stopped for a rest the flow took them back to where they had started from. You can just make them out in this picture, I was fishing off the end of the bush!

I managed one further trip due to the river levels and the cold, which was to another local stretch of the Stour at Langham.

I was fully intending spending an afternoon on Cheese paste but when I got there the river looked perfect for running a stick float through. The float rod was already set up in my rod bag and soon I was blissfully trotting away. I have to say that for me nothing comes close to trotting a stick float, and after an hour or so I could feel all my worries and woes drifting away as I slowly got into a rhythm, feed 6 maggots, gentle Wallis cast, 6 more maggots, trot a while mend the line and trot further… and repeat.

My state of meditation was, however, rudely interrupted when right at the tail of the swim, 30 yards downstream the float vanished and I struck into the bottom which was solid, 2 seconds later the bottom gave a couple of shakes of its head, turned and shot off downstream. I love it when Chub do that, The next 10 minutes were spent with the Speedia Centerpin going forwards then backwards as I slowly worked the fish upstream in the flow, all the time being fully aware the I was only connected via a size 16 hook. Once netted and pictured the fat lad was returned and I was soon back trotting.

The daylight ebbed and I spent the last two hours ledgering Cheese paste and worm with no interest at all.

As I write this I note that the levels are dropping so I shall be back out Chub hunting in the next day or two with hopefully something nice to report next week.

Tight lines Y’all and stay safe.

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Andrew Pilgrim

Practice What You Preach.

Hi Guys & Gals, I trust you all had a very enjoyable Xmas and your sacks were full to bursting on Christmas morning, I know mine was but my beloved Sheena was busy basting her Turkey!

Anyhoo, my last three blogs have been quite intense reading but I hope you found them useful and helpful in your quest for winter fish. So I thought I would have a quick recap on my own fishing over the last few weeks.

But first I would like to thank those who took the time to leave comments as feedback is most appreciated and to the ones who sent me a PM asking if I have considered writing a book, I am flattered, maybe one day but for now there are too many fish that need catching.

If you missed them they can be found here https://essexanglers.co.uk/advanced-river-fishing-techniques-pt1/ https://essexanglers.co.uk/advanced-river-fishing-techniques-pt2/ https://essexanglers.co.uk/advanced-river-fishing-techniques-pt3/

The weather has meant that I have had to put into practice some of the techniques I have been writing about in my previous blogs on River fishing, so lets see how I got on…………………

Drop-Shotting in Chelmsford I’m still getting my head round this method and had a trip to the Chelmer. I started at Browns Wharf and worked my way round to the main weir in town. Just the one little Perch from the gin clear canal and some small jacks from the well coloured river above the weir.

Elusive Big Chub on the Backwater I have been using the backwater of the Suffolk Stour at Stratford St Mary as a proving ground for a new batch of Cheese Paste, the recipie for which can be found here.https://essexanglers.co.uk/advanced-river-fishing-techniques-pt3/

Most of my short trips here have been late afternoon into dark so please excuse some of the pictures. I have consistently caught small Chub and the odd nice Roach proving the paste works – no sign of anything much over 1lb, but very enjoyable never the less.

Raging Weir Pool In my efforts to find a bigger Chub I had an evening session on the Suffolk Stour at Dedham Mill. This is a stunningly beautiful place in the summer but nigh on un-fishable due to canoeists, swimmers, swimming dogs, paddle boarders etc but late afternoon in December was perfect, apart from the fact the water was well up and raging through. A few enquiries on worm and bread early on then as it went dark I had a few bites on Paste and managed to eke out a few Roach and a small Chub, but still no sign of a bigger fish.

Lure Fishing with Thomas and Bailey A thoroughly unproductive day trying in vain to tempt a Pike from a pea soup coloured Chelmer near Maldon. Thomas somehow managed to get a small jack on a spinner but Bailey kept us both entertained by chucking his lure into a tree!… which tree?…. ALL OF THEM!

Unfishable?… Never. Yesterday I was desperate for a few hours fishing. The Suffolk Stour was well up at over 1.5 meters.

(Check your local river levels here https://riverlevels.uk/map )

So I met with an old friend James to fish my secret stream. This too was well up as you can see in the following pictures taken a month apart, and had burst its banks in places.

We persevered and found three places where we could wet a line. One bite on worm gave me a good sized Dace.

And half an hour later the most tentative of bites on Cheese Paste, a very gentle, Tap……… Tap……. Tap, Tap then a slight pull of no more than a quarter of an inch ( Thats less than a centimetre kids) and I found myself connected to a very nice, but quite angry Chub. My little 9ft Drennan Acolyte ultra had a cracking bend as the Chub tore arround the pool. Never ignore the little bites, big fish can be very cagey.

For more information on fishing Secret Streams near you have a read here https://essexanglers.co.uk/my-secret-stream/

If you enjoy reading these blogs please do leave c comment below and if you would like one of our bloggers to cover a specific subject just ask.

So thats about it for this year from me, best wishes and see you all again in the New Year.

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Andrew Pilgrim

Advanced River Fishing Techniques Pt3

In the first two blogs in this series we covered firstly how rivers flow and secondly how to approach fishing a flooded river. If you missed them they can be found here.

https://essexanglers.co.uk/advanced-river-fishing-techniques-pt1/

and here.

https://essexanglers.co.uk/advanced-river-fishing-techniques-pt2/

This week I thought we could talk about one of the Chub anglers favourite subject… Cheese Paste.

Over the years I’ve had many people ask me “How do you make your paste?” And To be honest I’m not going to tell you as its something I’ve perfected over 40 plus years of hunting Chub and also Roach, Bream , Carp and Tench. I have my own preferred pastes for each. What I will do here is explain how easy it is to knock up a basic cheese paste mix and that will give you a base from which to experiment and find your own ‘Secret Recipe’.

Firstly we need to ask ourselves why Cheese Paste? Well way back in 1653, In his book The Compleat Angler, the great Sir Izaak Walton mentions using cheese to catch Chub. Almost 400 years later the fish haven’t changed they still love a good smelly lump of cheese.I would hazard a guess that of all the freshwater fish we target none has a sense on smell to match the Chub. So what follows is a quick and easy way to knock up a killer bait.

CHOOSE YOUR CHEESE. The rule here is almost any cheese will do, the smellier the better. as its Xmas in a week or two there will be a plethora of mouldy half eaten bits cheese lurking at the back of the fridge, perfect. Take every last one, put them in a sandwich bag and pop them in the freezer until your ready to make your paste. Without doubt the go-to variety for any Chub angler is the mighty Stilton, and if you don’t have Stilton in your fridge go buy some its a must have. The rest is up to you but I would personally avoid hard cheeses such as Parmesan and Goat/Sheep cheese as they have a high salt content which I personally think makes the bait less attractive.

For this example I will be using a mix of Stilton and Red Leicester.

Take your cheese and grate it finely.

Pop it into a bowl and stick it into the microwave for 10 seconds. No more or you will separate too much of the fats. Mix it together to make a thick stinky cheesy goo. I should have mentioned at the start that this whole procedure is best carried out when your other half has left the building.

Barf!

Next take some flour add the melted cheese, I also like to add a beaten egg, I’ve no idea why it’s something I’ve always done and it seems to work.

and mix, and mix and mix. It’s important to mix well as this action gets the starches in the flour active and gives the dough/paste a certain elasticity, which is what we want.

Once you have a soft dough turn it out and kneed for 5 minutes.

Your paste should be fairly soft and a little sticky, almost gooey.This bit is trial and error and comes with experience. Don’t worry as when you get outside on the bank, in the cold, it will be perfect for moulding round your hook, and when it gets in the cold water it will stiffen up even more.

HOW TO USE PASTE

Take a piece of paste and roll it into a ball.

Squash it flat.

Lay your hook on the paste.

Mould the paste round your hook

I like my paste to be quite soft and the hook will pull through the paste on the strike, however it you prefere you can mould the paste round the shank to leave the hook point showing.

So there you have it, a simple basic and easy to make killer bait for Chub. From this basic recipe you can experiment adding many different flavours in powder and liquid form, here are just a few ideas to get you started, Garlic (many peoples favorite), Tumeric powder, Curry powder,Mixed Spice, you get the idea… SMELLY is what you want.

Stick it in a Tupperware pot, keep it in the freezer and you can grab it as you go fishing, no need to defrost overnight. When you get back just put it back in the freezer.

One further tip. When I have made a new batch of paste I like to test it sy yesterday I headed down to a backwater on the Suffolk Stour that I know had a good head of smaller Chub. Four hours fishing with Sheena’s Drennan Acolyte Plus quiver tip rod and 13 Chublets later I had full confidence that this is a good batch.

So tomorrow I will venture out to where the big Chub live full of confidence in my bait

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Andrew Pilgrim

Advanced River Fishing Techniques Pt2

This week I would like to write about how to tackle fishing in a flooded river. If you haven’t read Part1 it can be found here. https://essexanglers.co.uk/advanced-river-fishing-techniques-pt1/

Please do read it, off you go, the rest of us will wait.

All read and digested? good stuff , then I shall continue.

Now we all understand what’s happening to the flow under the surface of any given river lets bear that in mind and think about how to approach a river in flood.

The Suffolk Stour last week.

So how would we approach a river like this?….. CAREFULLY is the answer, the banks are slippy, the water is running fast. I have a small readership and I cant afford to loose any of my loyal followers.

When you arrive at a flooded river you may be tempted to take one look and get back in their car to head for the nearest carp puddle for some easy fishing. But flooded rivers can offer some great days fishing, and they are pretty easy to master provided you follow the following easy steps.

1/ TRAVEL LIGHT Take only what you think you will need. Rod, Net, Rest and bag of basic tackle is all you need. A feeder rod is perfect, 4lb main line for general fishing, 6lb if you may encounter a Chub or two, Hooks in sizes 16-8, some big shot and a few weights.

2/ TAKE A WALK. Don’t just plonk yourself down in the most comfortable swim you come across. Take a walk and identify where the fish will be. Remember that the fish haven’t gone anywhere they will just maybe not be where they usually are. You need to find where they have chosen to hold up out of the torrent.

3/ IDENTIFY LIKELY LOOKING AREAS. This is the key to successful river fishing at this time. That you are looking for are the following. Slack water on the inside of bends, ‘Cow drinks’ that offer some slack water, junctions where a slower river joins and structure on the bank, trees walls etc, that will divert the flow creating slower flowing water behind them. Can you see the theme here? that’s right we want to find some water which has less flow than the main river. Here are some pictures of the Suffolk Stour and the Colne taken last week. They were both pulling hard with weed, leaves and the odd branch flying past Now lets have some fun….The river is flowing right to left where would you cast?

Well how did you do?

Lets have a look.

I this picture we can see the flow coming round a bend and hitting the near bank just upstream. However the tree provides just enough deviation to the flow to create a small thin area of slacker water right along the near bank, very close only a foot or so from the submerged bank. In addition we can see a larger area of calmer water across on the far bank. If you fish across to somewhere like this get your rod tip as high as possible, ‘beachcaster’ style to keep as much line out of the fast flowing water as possible.

You can just make out the submerged bank downstream of my position, A big lobworm gently placed along here produced 3 good bites off Chub. Across and downstream is another area which produced one bite. It was a cold day and my beloved Sheena decided to give it a miss which was a shame as her Drennan Acolyte Feeder 11ft Plus would have been perfect for this style of fishing.

The River Colne, Colchester.

What a fantastic fishy looking hole just behind the tree and a huge area across that surely has fish holed up in it.

So we can see that all rivers have holding areas you just have to find them.Unless the river has burst it’s bank I would consider any river in flood as ‘fishable’. Don’t waste too much time in one spot, give it 15-30 mins. No bites then move to the next spot, remember the fish just need finding and as they have been swimming against a flow, using up energy they still need to eat.

Rigs are best kept as simple as possible. Without a doubt ledgering would be my choice with a very simple rig such as this.

If you need to use a heavier weight please never tie it directly to your line. A good Chub will find any available snag and a ‘fixed lead’ can become caught tethering the fish. You should always use a rig such as below where the lead is held in place by a single shot which can slide off should it become snagged leaving you connected to the fish.

One last thing we need to discuss, BAIT!

Most of your usual baits will catch fish but there are a few things to consider that will greatly improve your catch rate. Natural baits such as Worms and Slugs will get washed into rivers in times of flood and the Chub, Perch and Roach are on the lookout for these. Nip the end off your worm to increase its scent trail.

Smelly baits come into their own in heavily coloured water. Cheese, Luncheon Meat and stinky Cheese paste can be killer baits. Tailor the size of baits and hooks to your target species but remember if you are hoping for Big Chub use Big Baits on Big Hooks. I’ve caught 4-5lb Chub on a No4 and a lump of Red Leicester the size of a match box. For you youngsters that’s maybe 27 cubic grams or something, I don’t know, maybe ask your teacher!

KEY POINTS. Stay safe-Travel light- Identify fish holding areas-Keep on the move- Simple rigs and baits- and lastly concentrate on the margin, by which I mean as close to the usual bank as possible.

So there you have it, a simple guide to fishing flooded rivers. Personally I find this the most challenging and yet the most rewarding way to pass a few hours. In fact I think I shall be popping down the Suffolk Stour tomorrow, can’t wait.

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Tom Baird

Fishing the Broads

So, last week I was on holiday on the family boat which is moored at Brundall on the River Yare. We are very lucky to have a family boat on the Broads and in a lovely spot. I’m also lucky to have a tolerant wife who allows me to fish every day whilst on holiday. Obviously after family days out etc.

We arrived last Sunday and after unpacking and while the kids were being showered, I had a quick go as the tide was in, so it was nice and deep. Had one Roach which was a good sign of things to come. Then I had to go in like a little school boy to have my shower and bunk down for the night.

On the Monday we went to Mundsley just before Cromer. A lovely beach and miles of golden sand. Well the tide was in and people were sitting on the pathways etc, so we went to a local forest and spent a few hours there. On the way back we popped into Wroxham to pick up some mags. Once back at the boat we were fishing. We had around 10 Roach up to 1lb.

Tuesday, we went into Norwich as the rain was heavy, so we had a game of bowling which was great fun and I even got a strike. Once back at the boat the sun was out and fishing was back on. Whilst sitting there my wife genuinely got excited over fish and pointed under the boat. Wow there were 4 massive Chub just sitting there. I tried everything, mags, bread, sweetcorn and worms. I could see them just look at the lot and turn there nose up at it. Yes, I was very stealthy, but nothing worked. Nice to watch though and the other boat owners must of thought what the hell is that man doing hiding and sneakily looking over the stern of the boat.

Wednesday we were off to the Miniature museum in Wroxham and then met up with an old friend in Potter Heigham. Once fishing again, Harry struck into a nice Roach, as he was brining it in a Pike took advantage of the situation and decided it was his dinner time. So, we nearly had a Roach and a Pike but the Roach came off and the Pike won this time.

Thursday, I did try fishing, but the wind was really bad. Strong gales kept blowing the line into the weeds and I wasn’t in the mood to muck around with tangled line all afternoon. So, the rods came in and we watched a film instead.

Friday we were back on it, after a gruelling trip around Norwich which was quite funny in the end. My wife wanted to try this murder mystery trail, where you download the clues and you have to find who committed the crime. Well after she jumped from clue 5 to clue 11 without realising lol, we called it a day. We had another 13 Roach and 1 Perch which was nice.

Saturday was pouring down all day again, so we went to the Sea Life Centre and looked at fish instead. Showed the Kids some beautiful Mullet, Bass, Dogs and smooth Hounds. Then it came to the Black Tip Sharks and the Turtle in the main area. Sophie and Harry were in awe with it all. Then we met up with my friend and Fishing legend Nick Beardmore and his lovely partner Belle. We had a laugh and a good catch up. Now back at home I wish I was still on the boat trying for them big Chub, but that will be the next fishing trip. 

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Bailey Payne

Migraine Woes

My Saturday morning didn’t start as I wanted it too, after a week of prep and getting ready for Fishing a new stretch of the Chelmer with some good Chub in, waking up with a migraine is not what I wanted. Having to call off my early morning start to try and get a bit more rest.

After waking up around 10:30 and feeling good, I couldn’t resist but get an hour or so out on a River just to catch a Fish, so I headed 10 minutes down the road to the Wid, a River full of small Chub which should be happy to give me some good sport! It was also a nice chance to Christen my new Advanta River Ambush 5.5 ft Rod. I was hoping to test its paces with some nice big Chub, however this would have to do for now.

The perks of this new small Rod is I can drive with it already setup and ready to go, all I done when I got to the River as attached a very light flat weight and put a cube of meat on the hook.

For an hour session the Chub where more than happy to play ball with me, only after waiting a few minutes the tip tore round, great to see the small chub put up such a good fight and provide some good sport. It then didn’t take me long to add a second who again took a nice cube of meat with an aggressive bite. I was really happy with the action and feel of the Rod, will be interesting to handle big Chub on it too!

It went a bit quiet after this quick two Fish, adding a bigger cube and casting a bit further into the bend of the River, nicely placed between two over hanging trees. It wasn’t long before the feature Image Chub showed up, with another aggressive bite, wanting to pull the Rod in! After a nice little scrap he was netted, maybe the biggest Chub I’ve had from this particular stretch of the Wid. Although still a small Chub. These 3 Fish provided me with a nice hours Fishing, and just the ability to get out, not sure how much it helped my migraine though!

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Bailey Payne

My River Roding Curse!

Today (Sat 4th July 2020), marked my first early start for a while, arriving at my club River for the first time this season at an early 8am. I decided to Fish a stretch I haven’t yet, haven’t even walked this stretch before. After rain last night and a bit during the week I was hopefuly I’d catch the River at the right time, and it looked good, still had a bit of colour and had good depth. The worrying thing about fishing a stretch of Essex River for the first time is how overgrown is it going to be, am I going to be able to Fish it?

The first spot I decided to Fish looked good, it was just the entry to a small weir pool, although I’m not sure how I’d manage to Fish the weir pool, I can Fish just before the River runs into it, there were some nice reeds so I thought it was worth a shot. I used my normal aim towards River Chub Fishing, blended bread in a cage feeder with breadflake on the hook. My instincts were repaid quickly, missing a very soft bite after a few minutes, I rebaited, recast and waited with anticpation. However, it went quiet for a bit. Always in these moments you wonder if you lost the chance and should move on, that is until a few little knocks, which eventually turned into a forceful bite came along, after a good little scrap I managed to land the featured Chub, no record breaker, but a beautiful condition Fish one I was very happy to catch.

Now, my River Roding curse came back, It seems I am only ever able to catch one Fish from this River each session, I’m happy I don’t blank, but would love to be able to get a few more! My task now was to try and break my curse! I walked down and found some amazing looking swims, which must have been home to a few Chub

But frustratingly, this is where it ended for me, I had a few more knocks, and missed another bite which still baffles me when I think about it! However, for a quick morning session, all I was looking for was to catch, but, my curse continues…

Categories
Bailey Payne

River Wid – Unexpected Catches

At the end of my previous post “Exploration of the Wid”, I wondered what different species I could catch from the Wid and the size of them. A few trips will be crammed into this post, as I done some quick evening sessions with different setups.

Tactic #1 – Bread Flake

My first tactic is what I think is the best way to catch Chub, Bread. Buying a cheap loaf of Bread from Asda for 60p was all I needed for this session. I saved 2/3 slices for hookbait and the rest got some treatment from the blender to create some liquidised bread. I used a simple link ledger rig and decided to hand feed the balls of bread. The first spot I wanted to fish had some dog walkers sitting by it, so decided just to fish close by ready to jump in to claim the spot when they left. The first spot, wasn’t very deep, so didn’t expect any monsters, although while on my walks I did spot some maybe half a pound Chub which I thought could provide some good sport. It didn’t take long before I was getting notifications, although looking back, I think this was the sheer amount of small fish pecking at the bread flake, eventually, a Chublet managed to get in before the smaller fish and take the bread. This fish was only small, but was a good way to spend the time while waiting for the dog walkers to move on. Finally being able to get to the spot I had my eyes on, I had to decide what feature to fish first, it had a lovely over hanging tree and a bit of an undercut bank so was spoiled for choice! I first tried the over hanging tree, and weirdly the pecks from the small fish had stopped, but after a while and only a missed bite I decided to try the undercut bank and from a bit of luck I managed to drop the bread flake on top of a Chub’s nose, and he took it on the drop, providing the best fish I’ve caught from this stretch of the Wid on date of posting. This fish is the featured image Fish.

I then moved to another spot I saw which looked fantastic, as the River was bending and loads of reeds. I chose to stay in this spot a bit longer to see the evening out. It provided me two quick Chublets and then it went a bit quieter, and I was getting very weird bites, each one leading to being snagged. Eventually I managed to catch the culprit of these weird bites! It was a good size Crayfish! The Crayfish must have moved in after they got wind of the bed of blended bread on the bottom of the River, a first for me catching a Crayfish, the hook somehow managed to stay in its claw!

Tactic #2 – Float & Maggot

My next method is also as simple as it can get, I used one of my homemade Pole Floats, a number 10 shot and then a small hook length with single maggot on the hook. I planned on just Fishing the one spot to build up the fish feeding and just catch anything that came my way.

This method provided constant bites, and reminded me of my childhood Fishing experiences, just catching anything no matter what the Size, and it was a good hour or so, catching loads of Fish. I probably caught over 30 Minnows on this session, some of them with beautiful little colours, they’re a fish not targetted a lot, but do have some beauitful colours, my girlfriend also quite enjoyed catching them! The Species I was able to rack up using this method are; Minnows, Roach, Dace (My first and PB) and Rudd (Not photographed) – I was disappointed not to see any little Perch as I was expecting at least one. However, it was a good session with a lot of Fish.

Overall, I’ve loved the evening sessions I’ve had on this River and with it being so local and full of Fish it is definetly one I will see myself going back to often. And hopefully I can find some bigger Chub there too!

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Bailey Payne

Exploration of the Wid

During the close season of the Rivers, I wanted to prepare and explore some new local Rivers I haven’t fished before to try and find maybe a hidden gem in possibly ignored Essex waterways. Now a lot of you may say, the River Wid isn’t an ignored Essex River, infact it’s quite well known. That’s true, at least the stretches around Writtle and Chelmsford are more well known. However, I was scouting a small stretch just behind Billericay. Which from what I found while searching the web, hasn’t got a lot of info about it.

On Arrival it was a typical small, overgrown Essex River, in the Essex spring time it wasn’t showing many of it’s secret spots to fish, unnaccesable from the lush foliage. It weaved around, fast shallow patches followed by slower, deeper looking areas. The River on my first walk around was quite clear and a bit lower than I expect it would normally be, but took this as a good opportunity to see some of the fish clearer.

Whenever I scout a new River I like to bring a few slices of bread, in the close season the Chub aren’t shy about showing themselves to enhale some free offerings of Asda special bread. Looking down on the River from a small seemingly unstable wooden bridge, I decided to drop a few flakes of bread to see if there was any interest. Straight away the offerings of bread were darting around from small Chub, Roach and I guess the odd Minnow grabbing and trying to quickly swim off before being chased by the rest of the pack. I thought it was a good sign to see so many juvenile Fish.

After a few minutes of feeding these, soon their bigger brothers started to show, after some confidence was built I assume. The Chub I was seeing weren’t monsters, however, they would definetly provide some good sport come the Rivers opening.

Walking the River only showed more the sheer amount of Chublets around 1-5oz, feeding them and seeing the frenzy of a flake of bread hitting the surface was good fun, and it was reassuring seeing a bigger Chub appear inbetween demanding a flake of bread from the surface. The stretch of the River I walked only had a handful of fishable swims, unless I decided to battle past the stinging nettles. I was confident from this walk I could get good sport from this River, from the smaller Chublets, but also the chance of some of the bigger Chub I saw.

A few questions were left from my visit of the Wid, How many big Chub was there? Could I battle through these Chublets for some bigger Fish? How many Species could I catch from here? The answers to these? Will be found out soon…