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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.

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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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Tom Baird

Christmas Rush

Happy Christmas Eve Eve, Hope you are all well and keeping it together. This week is full of emotion and mixed feelings. As most of our county has been put in tier 4, I’m one of the fortunate ones that are still in tier 2. But as I write my blog, I have just learned we will be joining you as of Boxing day.

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Enough of that, this week I was off work as I booked leave. I have an amazing wife who is really organised and we are ready for Christmas, so not much to do. Apart from going fishing and as much of it that I can fit in lol.

Started off on the River Chelmer and had two amazing Pike on the lure. I used bright colours as the water is still up and murky and this seemed to work. Next was a club water of mine and the whole family went as we are all members.

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We didn’t do so well there and Unfortulantly we blanked. Which was a bit disappointing due to the amazing day the day before. But that’s fishing for you and was grateful I was with the family and enjoyed the lunch the wife prepared.

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Today saw me back on the river, this time the River Stour at Dedham and there was a fast flow and it was up. Whilst there I saw a friend and his Son fishing. So, keeping social distancing in mind we fished the same area.

Again, today was a blank as the heavens opened and we decided to pack up. It was great to see my friend Dariusz and his son Lukas. Lukas is fishing mad and has come on leaps and bounds in just a year of fishing.

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The last three days have been great getting out on the bank and enjoyed every moment of it. There was only one bit of the three days that was disappointing and it wasn’t the bit blanking either.

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I bumped into two walkers, who stopped to talk to see how we were getting on. They started talking about how Eastern Europeans have been taking fish out of the Rivers and Lakes around the area. Only if they knew that Dariusz and Lukas are Polish. Now Dariusz didn’t say anything, but it must have made him feel mad.

Not all Eastern Europeans take fish and kill them. Dariusz has always had a licence and knows the law behind fishing. Not even all English anglers know that, as I have met so many without licences. We need to take a look at ourselves before we judge and stereotype others.

Sorry for ending on a bit of a gloomy note, but felt it needed to be said. I genuinely wish you all a Happy Christmas. I hope you get the tackle you wanted lol.

Until next time, Tight Lines……

Categories
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.

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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?

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Well how did you do?

Lets have a look.

Stour 1

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.

Stour 3 1

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.

Colne 1
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.

basic ledgering rig 1

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.

Rig

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.