Early Winter Blog 2023

Winter Pike_01

Well, this winter has been peculiar to say the least, it seems that the UK has been hit with storm after storm. This has had two major effects on my angling, first the winds which were often near gale force meant I couldn’t go out in my boat! Secondly, the rain that the storms brought flooded all the rivers!

Just how much water came down really socked me. One day I travelled over to a reservoir to fish. Leaving early in the morning I travelled up the motorway the Severn and Avon were all in the fields, but that’s not an unusual situation at this time of year. However, a couple of hours later, I then went over the Welland Valley and that was all in the fields as well, and that not something I have seen since I was a child! A bit further on, and the Trent – you couldn’t see where the river started and the banks ended – or maybe that should be the other way around? It seemed that water had fallen everywhere in just a couple of weeks. This is quite unusual as often, if one area of the country is flooded, after a bit of travel and you can find somewhere to go.

Zander Fishing;
I have managed one trip out this Autumn / Winter so far, this was in-between floods, I literally had a gap in the weather where the water was dropping at the location I wanted to fish. However, at the same time I had planned to be out, another storm front was predicted to drop a lot of water further up the system, potentially causing another flood! I thought I would chance a couple of hours and launched early in the morning, hopefully I would be getting a half day out before the plug of water from further up would come down and wipe the fishing out.


I am glad I made the effort as I was away on the first cast, and as I was putting this fish back the other rod was away, and it was like this for next couple of hours. I moved a few times, as the water started to speed up, in order to find some slack areas to fish. I caught from most of the usual areas, until the flood debris started to come down in earnest and it killed the fishing. What I found was strange is that the water was relatively clear, despite it being high, and all my fish came to dead baits bounced around in the flow.

Zander Bait

In these conditions I would have expected lures too far out fish dead baits, but I couldn’t get a hit on the lures to save my life! Yet the fish would take a dead bait almost as soon as it went in. All I can think of is that the fish were really tight to the bottom and didn’t want to case anything, but if the bait bounced over to them, they took it. They were all really nice and fat as well which was a good sign for later in the season.

Pike Fishing;
I don’t really want to talk about it! I have had one of the worst seasons I have ever had so far! It took me until December to have my fist 20 of the season!
I think my lack of success has been twofold. Firstly, looking at it objectively everywhere I usually target has been fishing badly, maybe it’s just because the weather has been all over the place this year, I don’t know. Secondly, because everywhere has been fishing pants, I haven’t been as much as I would usually go. All I can hope for is that the weather settles down for the back end of the season, this is a time I usually do fairly well anyway so fingers crossed.


Sea Fishing;
One thing that I have really been intent on catching is a Bristol Channel Cod from my boat. Now a few years ago this target should not have been an issue as there was always a few around from November onwards, with a peak around early January. However, in the last two years their numbers have dwindled to such an extent that they are like unicorns!

There have been the odd one or two caught around the South Wales coast where I usually launch, but they have been just that, one or two. There have been several cod competitions run where not a single cod has been caught, so the situation is quite dire really. I will keep trudging on with the hope of picking one up in the spring.

Blond Ray

At the moment when I have managed to get out, I have still been doing ok on the ray front, with a couple of big thornbacks, and the occasional big blonde ray which I don’t mind suffering! The last time I went out it was as if the whole sea was full of small Whiting! There were so many I was picking two a time up on my Pennel Rigs that were for rays! Eventually I twigged and rigged one up and wacked it out only for a good Thornback to take it almost straight away! Matching the hatch in a weird non-fly-fishing way.

Hopefully the weather will settle down in the next couple of months, and allow me to get out a bit more, I certainly need to get my Pike head back on to make up for the poor results so far.