I’ve been out a lot, not caught much though. 

I’ve managed a few sessions of late. I’ve split my time between jig & lure fishing with my growing barbel addiction.

It’s been tough, really tough. I’ve banked a total of 10 fish in 5 sessions. Not exactly prolific.

Let’s look at the barbel first, I’ve been out twice for them of late putting in around 5 hours each time. The first session I was on a nice spot out to open river not far from where two bodies of water meet. I was hopeful on setting out but when I got there the river was moving at such a pace it was, for me unfishable. I stuck a 5oz feeder out and my rod was still being pulled in. So I tried to fish tight to the bank but still had trouble with the flow, so after much frustration I decided to pack up.

My next trip saw my in a swim that is facing the end of an island, on one side there’s a weir on the other a lock. I was on the side of the lock so I was casting towards the crease where the two flows meet. Ideal I thought, 5 hours later and no bites; maybe not.

The first session I’m putting down to the pace the second session I’m puzzled over. On arrival I saw lots of fish but they were not interested. I think I might go back early in the morning armed with maggots. That I think will bag me a few.

So onto the lure fishing. It’s been slow, a heron flew into my usual spot the other day and since then it’s gone quiet and most other parts of the canal have been fishing rather hard as well.

So on a recent trip I decided to change things up. I put a much larger bait and jig head on and I changed up my retrieve. Up to now I’ve been using lures 2.5cm up to 5cm; these had been doing me really well, using a jerky, mixed pace retrieve. I changed this up to an 8cm stick worm with a jig head probably 4-5g and went for a much slower retrieve.

So I cast out and allowed the jig to hit the bottom, when I was happy it was on the bottom I wound the line tight, I lifted the rod tip lightly to bring the lure up in the water and reeled in the excess line, as I reeled in I lowered the rod tip to allow the jig to settle again before again lightly lifting the rod tip and repeating the process. What I was trying to achieve was the lure coming off the bottom and then fluttering and stuttering back down; I didn’t want the lure to come too far off the bottom, say about 10cm. Basically I was trying to replicate an injured fish trying to swim off the bottom and failing and failing back down before trying again. The theory for the changes was this, it’s getting colder so the fish are looking for more efficient food intake. That should mean larger meals that take less energy to get hold of; so that means to me a bigger lure with a slower action that works near the bottom or on bottom because as it gets colder the fish will most likely find deeper water/the bottom.

First cast a bigger than normal perch graced my net so I had a few more casts at the same spot and nothing, not a great start but not the worst. So I moved on; I was under a bridge which is also a main road when out of no where my rod doubled over. A flash of bronze shone through the water and I was greeted by the snarling beautiful face of a pike.

By no means my best photo, I know. He fought but not that much so still had a lot of fight left in him when he came to the net. As the bank where I caught him is made up of sharp stones and really is not too fish friendly I unhooked him in the water save him coming off the mat and hurting himself. So that and combined with him taking a chunk out of my thumb I thought it best to snap one quick photo of the fish in the net so I could get him straight back in the water.

You can see near the tail a scar, this was one of two large scars that to me looked like they may have been made by a large Zander.

The only downside to catching this amazing fish was the fact that I now needed to go home and patch myself up. Still I can’t complain as that is the first Pike I’ve landed in over 10 years.

It was really nice to land this fish for many reasons. I had been told that there were no Pike in this section so this was a shock to both me and others and I was very pleased to land a fish that was not meant to be there. The other reason is that I made a tactical change based on a gut feeling and it paid off. It’s always nice to when you make a change based on you’re own knowledge and intuition and have it pay off in style as it’s a bit of validation of your theories and who doesn’t like that!

I’m finally getting myself geared up for some deadbaiting and will hopefully be going out over the weekend to try and track down some more pike and hopefully I’ll be able to land another barbel soon!!

That’s it from me folks; hope you’ve had better luck than me of late.

Tight Lines




A nice walk but not many fish

A lovely walk on a beautiful Autumn day.

So yesterday saw the misses off to work in the afternoon for a couple of hours leaving me at a lose end. That means only one thing to me; fishing time.

Only having a bit of time I opted to get the lure rod out. Also is there anything better than a walk on an autumn afternoon? The leaves turning, bit of a chill in the air but nothing too cold and being a Monday afternoon the chance of throngs of people being around was very unlikely. That’s one of the great thing about lure fishing, the walking. It’s not for everyone but for me I love a good walk and with the added bonus of possibly catching a fish; well count me in!

The stretch of canal by me is lovely, it goes from relatively urban to relatively picturesque in a short distance. Offering a wonderful array of swims and challenges. I had forgotten though that there had been a match held on the stretch I was tackling the day before.

This did I think have an impact on the standard of the fishing, I only managed to bag one on my long walk.

My first lure caught Chub and a PB to boot as well 

The fish that graced my net was a lovely Chub, it was my first lure caught Chub and a PB as well so I was a very, very happy man. It went off like a train so after a good two hours of no bites I was getting a bit tired and to be totally honest I wasn’t expecting the bite so when it came and the rod bent over like it did I was taken completely by surprise. The fight didn’t last that long and it was great to see it come into the net.

After catching the Chub I decided it was time to head home, the light was fading and I know of a spot that I can more than often get a Perch or two in the fading light close to my home.

Sure enough on my first cast at the secret spot I got a fish, followed by another then another and then another!! Over 30 casts I caught 25 fish, all small Perch; nothing larger than a quarter of a pound but after the massive walk and not a lot of action I was more than happy with that. After about 40 minutes of action I started putting my casts in trees and lost two hooks and a couple of lures so I thought it best time to go home.

To add to my ever growing collection of lures (really when is too many too many?) I got some lures, cheburashka weights & hooks from the folks at Realistic Shad on Facebook. Mainly because some of their larger lures for Zander and Pike look so realistic I really thought they were deadbaits and I’ve wanted to try some cheburahka rigs out for a while.

Some good quality lures and rigs!

The whole process was very simple and pain free. I simply sent them a message on Facebook and went through with them my normal size lures etc and they advised me which rigs to get, I added the lures on as a slight after thought. They offered me a choice of different lures but there were so many to choose from I asked for a random selection. Delivery was very fast and the overall price is competitive. I haven’t tried them out yet but I will be before the weekend and I will let you know how I get on.

Tight lines folks.





Just got back from lure fishing. 

Got to love jig fishing for perch

I’ve not had much time to fish the last couple of weeks. 

Tonight though I got out with my jig rod and hit the canal. A couple of hours led to thirty perch. 

This type of fishing really is fun and rewarding. You don’t need to carry a lot, rod, net, lures, hooks, leader line and you’re good to go. Also you don’t need a lot of time either to be able to bag up. 

It’s been a great evenings fishing. 

Tight lines 


Groundbait MKII & Other homemade baits

This is a run through of how I made my latest groundbait as well as some other bits

Why buy ready made groundbait? 

It can be really expensive to buy, it can be confusing with there being so many to choose from, how do you make a choice of what is right for you without wasting money in the process?

Well for me I don’t bother with store bought groundbait; it has it’s places, if I’m in a rush or going last minute having a bag of ready made is great but if I have the time I make it myself. It’s simple and I find it very rewarding to catch on something I’ve made myself.

I make groundbait up with what I’m using it for in mind. Do I want a groundbait that is going to cloud through the water and help me catch up in the water and on the drop or do I want something that is going to sink and break down slower forcing the fish down to the bottom? It totally depends on the situation I find myself faced with on the day.

The groundbait I made up for my last session needed to fill a duel role. I wanted it to work on the method feeder but also work as normal groundbait.


So what to put in it? I needed it to be able to stick to the method feeder in flight and while falling through the water but I also wanted it to be able to break apart once the fish found it and started feeding.

To solve this problem I raided my partners parents house of their leftover bits of cereals. I collected together some bran flakes, shredded wheat and rice crispies. The reason being is that they should to my mind all give off malty sweet smells, they should be sticky when dampened down and finally when bits do break off some might float up etc. Especially with the rice crispies, they floated about and could be seen rising through the water on introducing the bait.

The full list of what went in:

  • 1 loaf of white bread
  • 750g bran flakes
  • 300g shredded wheat
  • 400g rice crispies
  • 3 to 4 large handfuls of fish meal pellets
  • 2 large tins of sweetcorn
  • 1 sachet of custard powder
This is the basics


To make this up you’ll need to the following things:

  • Large bucket
  • Food processor
  • Somewhere cool and dark to store over night

This could not be simpler:

  1. Add the bread to the processor, I blitz up 4 -5 pieces at a time. I made this into a fairly fine crumb. Empty this into the bucket as you go.
  2. Add the bran flakes to the processor. Again I blitzed this to a fine powder. Empty this into the bucket as you go.
  3. Add the shredded wheat to the processor. This I did in varying consistences, some fine some more course. Add this to the bucket as you go.
  4. Add half the rice crispies to the processor and blitz to a powder and add to the bucket; the other half add straight to the bucket.
  5. Add the fishmeal pellets to the processor. I made these into varying sizes, some powdered up totally with other bits around 2mm to 4mm.
  6. Once these had all been blitzed etc and added to the bucket I added the custard powder and mixed thoroughly.
  7. Then I blitzed the corn, I left it fairly chunky. This was then mixed into the bucket.
  8. This was then covered over with cling film and left to stand over night.
  9. Mixing it up on the day, for the method I made a fairly damp mix to get it to stick to the feeder. For close in work I left it a little bit drier to help it break down quicker.

The final mix will have a very malty sweet smell to. I’m not going to lie it smelt almost good enough to eat!!!


The groundbait was easy to use close in and with the water only being 3-3 1/2 feet deep I could see a nice cloud form as the bait went in. It wasn’t a thick cloud so most of the bait went down to the bottom but there certainly was a trail left in the water. The rice crispies worked great with some staying on the surface when the bait went in and other rising to the surface after a while.

I’m sure this helped in catching me some of the lovely rudd I had out on this session. As I’m sure you know they tend to eat up in the water, so I think that the rice crispies breaking off on the way down and coming to the surface may of helped bring them onto the feed.

As for the method feeder I’m not too sure what conclusions to draw. It stuck to the feeder well, I was able to cast easily and at distance as well, so no issues there. As for fish; I caught four in total with a number of bites missed. However it really wasn’t brilliant to be totally honest. Not sure why, it may have been the groundbait, however the fish had only just spawned last week (the carp at least) so it may of been that, I really don’t have an answer.

What I may do is add more fishmeal to the mix; this may help pull the fish to the feeder I think.

So overall brilliant in close, I caught rudd, roach, perch, bream and carp over this groundbait. On the method feeder it kind of didn’t work as well as I hoped it would.

Spicy sweetcorn & curried luncheon meat

Another thing I tried out on my last session was adding some spice to the fishes diet.

Nothing difficult to this at all. For the sweetcorn I got some dried chili flakes and added them to a food bag and then dumped the sweetcorn juice and all in there as well. A good shake up and it went into the fridge. For the meat I cut it up into hook size cubes, again I grabbed a food bag, to that I added some medium curry powder and then added the meat. I gave the bag a good shake and made sure there was a fairly thick crust of spice on the meat and the put it in the fridge.

Did it work?

Well the sweetcorn seemed to work wonders as free offerings, the fish seemed to go crazy for it. Strangely  though I didn’t get much on the hook with it though. That really made no difference though as they came onto the feed with force when I added it to the swim.

The meat, what can I say about the meat!? Did it work? You bet it did! At one point I’d used 10 pieces of meat for 10 fish inc some lovely rudd and bream. The bites came almost instantly and I caught on it throughout the day. With it producing some nice carp later in the day as they finally came into the margins.

So folks that’s how I did it and on the whole it worked well. I love making my own bait. It’s cheap which is great but also making it yourself and knowing it works is a great felling of accomplishment.

I feel more connected to what I’m doing knowing I made the bait that caught that fish. It doesn’t take a lot of knowledge to do and it saves you money, which in the long run might mean more fishing which can only be a good thing.

That’s it from me folks.

Tight lines


What I’ve been doing

Unfortunately I’ve not been able to get on the bank a lot this week

Not had much time on the bank over the last week in all honesty. It’s been one of those weeks at work!!

I did manage a quick 3 hours session on the 13.6.16. I woke up to a wall of rain. Don’t get me wrong I’m not averse to getting wet in search of fish. However the shear force of water made me reconsider my plans of going to a lake that morning. So I waited for it to clear up and made a trip to Alans Tackle shop, St Johns Worcester for some maggots and a couple of floats as I have a problem not buying floats!! Alans tackle is a great shop, lots of choice from floats to everything you can think of. It’s a real Aladdin’s cave being inside what I think used to be an end terrace house. So it can be cramped in there with every possible space taken up with stock.

I picked up an antenna type float and a clear insert waggler both by Drennan.

I was just getting to grips with the antenna float when a swan decide to take exception with it and attacked it, snapping it in the process!! So one thing to note about this float it’s not able to stand up to an angry swan!! That would also mean be careful if you accidentally cast it into cover etc.

The antenna float

What time I did have with this float was good; it’s very, very sensitive so great for small fish and for fishing with pinkies or squats. One thing I did find difficult was getting the shotting right, I wanted it just showing one yellow band. I found this a little hard to achieve as I didn’t have anything smaller than a no 6 weight. I’ve been trying to fish for some bait fish for live & dead baiting and this seems like it would have been great for that due to the massively increased sensitivity; thanks swan!

The insert waggler I got on my trip to the tackle shop is fantastic.

One of my favorites 

What a brilliant float, easy to shot, great casting with brilliant accuracy and they seem to be made of very tough material. The tip is super bright and the float is very sensitive. If you need an insert waggler then I highly recommend these. Easy to get hold of and fairly cheap.

The fishing it’s self was great. I only went for some time to relax and chill so I was only using maggot over micro pellets. With the the change in weather I was confident in the fishing coming on the feed and they did so. In three hours I had approx thirty fish. Not bad really; nothing massive but some nice looking fish. I did hook into something I think was a nice perch but it slipped the hook after 30 seconds as I think I struck a bit too soon. I don’t like deep hooking perch and this is what I was mostly catching so I decided to be cautious.

The best of the bunch from 3 hours on the cut on red maggot

What I did learn from this session is what size is possibly good for live baiting. My purpose for live baiting is to target the larger perch and pike that I fully believe reside in canal near me.

A good size live bait.

Now I’m not sure of your feelings on live baiting but for me as long as you don’t over fish I can’t see the issue. I have no intention of taking any more than 3-4 fish for live baiting. I only intend to fish one at a time; the others will be in a very large bucket with fresh canal water to be introduced regularly to ensure they have enough oxygen. If I don’t need them I will let them go. I intend to use perch and bleak as live bait; the reason being I can catch 30 of these fish in 3-4 hours I don’t see how this will damage the eco system seeing as they are the natural food of what I am trying to catch.  Yes there are other methods to catch these fish and I use them but it doesn’t mean if you’re responsible you can’t use live or dead baits.

My final bit of news is regarding a little treat to myself:

New split cane rod!!!

I found this beauty on Ebay, it’s 6 10 and described as a spinning and ledger rod. I’m going to use it for close in canal fishing, spinning and light lure work on the river.

I’ve never used a split cane rod, my Dad did have one if my memory isn’t playing tricks on me but I can’t remember using it as I think it was too heavy for me at the time. I’m very excited to get this and have a go with it!! Hopefully it will be here in time for the river season!!

Tight lines


Groundbait results

The results of my groundbait experiment, it was hot but lots of fun!

So last time I was making my own groundbait; it had been a while since I’d done it so I was interested to see if I still had the magic touch!

So on the 6.6.16 me and my friend Ben made the long 30 second trip to the canal; followed by a twenty minute walk further up the canal!!! We choose a spot that looked ideal, reeds in front with a sunken tree; we were spoilt for choice. Or so it seemed.

We got there for around half 9, I plumbed up and worked out we had around 5-6 foot of water where we wanted to fish. We baited the swim up with a nice carpet of groundbait and waited. The time ticked by, groundbait went it and not much happened. I managed a couple of small perch but that was all. I was using an insert waggler, nothing too big but there was a bit of tow so I went with a float that could deal with that. I love insert wagglers when fishing with maggots or just in general for light float fishing; they’re especially good I find for perch. As perch have a tendency to wolf the bait down I find these floats are good for showing the slightest nudge. Personally I prefer to strike and miss than possibly deep hook and injure a perch. So the insert waggler for me helps greatly in showing when is the best time to strike.

My friend Ben was having trouble with his reel; it turned out that as he does mainly feeder fishing and the drag on his reel was set far too lose for float fishing. I found out while teaching him the basics that it can be quite hard to teach someone the finesse of small light float fishing when they come from a carp/feeder background. After trial and error he got the hang of it.

So after 4-5 hours of grueling fishing that only produced two fish we decided to move. I had previously fished a spot almost on my doorstep and it had produced a decent amount of fish. So we set out in the blistering heat to walk all the way back to where we started. The next time anyone says to me, “fishing’s just sitting around” I think I might politely tell them to go forth and multiply.

So a few pounds lighter around the waste from our trek we arrived at our new spot. This is just by a bridge and a lock. The water is very shallow, only approx a meter at the most. So I stuck with the insert waggler but I scaled it right down, groundbait in, maggot on hook we started again; with a BANG.

Every cast a bite, the water boiled with every bit of groundbait added, Perch and Bleak were our main catch until this turned up:

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My first ever eel!

I genuinely could not believe it, I knew they were there. I had said to Ben that I’d love to catch one but that we’d probably need different tactics to get them. Fifteen minutes later this happened!! On two red maggots.

It fought like crazy and while I’d heard stories about how hard they are to handle on the bank but I was not prepared for the carnage it would cause. Being near a bridge and a lock this is a very tight spot with a fair amount of foot traffic; nothing too bad if you’re careful. Well with the two of us scrabbling around on the deck and bikes backing up it was bedlam. Most people walking past on the canal think any fish is amazing, the site of an eel though caused instant shock and bemusement. One person thought I’d caught a snake. It truly was a moment I won’t forget and these moments are the reason I love fishing; the reason I keep going back. You never know what might happen and when something like that does happen it’s like being a kid again.

This canal so far has given me my PB perch and my first ever eel and all thirty seconds from my front door!! Can’t complain at that.

After the creature that time forgot the fishing died off a bit, we had a few more out but whether it was commotion of the eel being caught or something else I don’t know but they didn’t want to know. That is until Ben steps up to the plate with this beauty:

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Bens new PB roach, what a beauty it was as well.

Till this point I’d not seen any roach in the canal; logic told me they’d be there but even with bread crumb groundbait they hadn’t turned up until this beauty came along.

All in all it was a great day; very difficult in the morning but the change in spots made the afternoon one to remember.

I think the reason for the lack of action in the morning is the fact that the distance between locks on that stretch is so far that if you’re not on them you won’t catch. I’m going to get on my bike and explore a bit more I think. The fact that I have such a good spot so close to my house is amazing and I feel very lucky to have it!!! Also I was very pleased with how well my groundbait mix worked; apart from the swimstim ground bait and the hemp it’s cheap as chips. You can do without these and use cheap pellets available in all tackle shops and I’m positive the results will be similar. Plus it’s nice to catch on something you’ve put the time in to make, it just feels that much more satisfying! With that in mind me and Ben are looking into make our own floats. Stay tuned for more on that!

Tight Lines


Now for something different.

I’ve been doing mostly lure fishing at the moment in the form of Jig and Drop Shot fishing, I’m loving it loads but I know the canal near me holds quite a lot of other species.

So with that in mind I’ve invited a friend to join me on a more all round course day. He’s never fished a canal and is not that experienced in using the float. So it’s a bit of a foray into the unknown for the both us as I’ve not hit the canal in search of much other than Perch so far.

The approach 

Keeping it simple really. I love simple float fishing and the canal I find demands that, fine line, fine hooks and smallish floats.

Hook baits will be maggots, sweetcorn, bread and meat; oldies but golden oldies!! If possible I’m going to get some worms (a friend has an allotment I can raid!!)

Groundbait: This is going to be a mix I’m making myself (I’ll cover the recipe lower down); I’ll be applying the little and often approach to this. So to begin with 3 balls approx the size of tangerines; each to be of a different hardness to allow for different rates of breakdown. The idea being this will create a nice thick cloud and also a nice bed of bait. After that I am going to put in roughly walnut size balls every 15 mins; making them not too hard not too soft so that they have a medium rate of break down.

Lose feed: I intend to put a variety of lose feed into the groundbait except for meat. Therefore free offerings will be limited to small amounts of maggots.

The groundbait mix:

This is a mix I have used many times; mainly on lakes but it has worked well in the past for me so I see no reason why it won’t this time.

Base mix:

  • Brown & White bread in equal amounts
  • Sweetcorn x 2 tins
  • Strawberry Angel delight or milkshake powder
  • Instant custard powder
  • Salt

I use this as the base mix for most of my groundbaits, if it’s winter I swap the angel delight/milkshake for chill or curry spice.

Additional content:

  • Bloodworm pellets
  • swimstim black ground bait
  • tinned hemp (chill flavor)
  • Maggots

In terms of additional content there is no right or wrong answer. I’m putting these in for a couple of reasons. The hemp because the canal should be full of silver fish and they love it along with the chili. The pellets and the groundbait, two fold really I’m making groundbait for two people and for the canal. So I want a lot of it and I want something that will draw the fish to us. I have lots of confidence in Swimstim, in fact I have lots of confidence in all the Dynamite Baits range to be honest. I know it catches fish so that’s why it’s in there. The bloodworm pellets are simply there to bulk it out and also to attract fish in as well.

Before going further: you will need a food processor to make this groundbait mix. Along with a large bucket and a groundbait riddle. 

Mixing the groundbait. 

Right so we’ve got the ingredients; what’s next. First of all you need to allow the sweetcorn and hemp dry out; make sure to keep the juice from both the sweetcorn and hemp. The sweetcorn and the hemp need time to dry out to aid in mixing the ingredients and not making it too wet. If you can’t do this don’t add them until you’re on the bank.

I put the sweetcorn and hemp into containers to dry for a couple of hours; over night if possible. I layer the bottom of the container with kitchen roll and then cover them with more kitchen roll, applying pressure to squeeze excess juice out.

To begin with I blend all the sweetcorn up; you can choose to do half and half if you now there might be large fish at the venue. Once this is blitzed I do the hemp; once that has been done I put the sweetcorn back in till the two are blended together. I then take this and put it to one side and clean the food processor.

Next take the bread and blitz it, some people cut the crusts off and do them separate or save them for hook bait.I throw it all in together. You want it to be a nice fine consistency. Put the bread in the bucket.

I then blitz the pellets, I don’t want this to be total powder. I like to leave some bigger bits in. Once done add to the bucket.

Next add the swimstim to the bucket. Then the other ingredients, so angel delight, custard powder and salt. This is thoroughly mixed, I do it by hand but you could attach a whisk to a drill and do it that way.

Once mixed I pass through the riddle, this leaves you any large bits; blitz these and add back to the bucket. At this stage you have a viable groundbait; all it needs it water. I however like to add the sweetcorn etc for that bit of kick.

So next take the sweetcorn and hemp mix and add to the bucket. I do this a third at a time, making sure to mix it thoroughly.

That’s the mix done and ready for the next day!! I cover mine in cling film to keep flies and the cat away from it.

On the day you need to add the maggots, I use dead maggots as they can’t escape and burrow into the silt. To do this take your maggots and put them in a bait box, boil a kettle and then cover the maggots in the water. Leave for 5 mins and then drain and add to the bucket.

When you get to the bank take the liquid saved from the hemp and sweetcorn mix until it is a smooth consistency that can be rolled into a ball that holds together but breaks apart easily when you apply pressure you may need more water, always use the water from the venue. Leave it to stand for 10 minutes; just enough time to set your rod up. After you’ve left it to stand check the consistency; it may require more water. You want an even wetness to the mix, too dry and it will be too cloudy, too wet and it will take too long to break down.

As I’ve said I’ve used this mix before and it will attract all manner of fish from Carp to Roach and everything in between. So hopefully on the canal it will work to bring the fish in and have enough power to hold them.

I’m writing up how it went at the moment, so check back soon!!!!

Tight Lines