July 2013


Wow, July was hot, I think it took everyone by surprise, normally it floods in July! Hot weather like this isn’t very conducive to fishing for any species, but it didn’t stop me trying. Obviously in weather like this you shouldn’t be targeting pike. Zander are ok, and are a bit tougher than pike, but, even so, with day time temperatures up to 32 degrees, it’s not the best idea.

I suppose I should have gone eel or catfish fishing, as both of these species are highly active when the water temperatures are really hot at night. But I’d just got my boat back from Seastrike, and I was desperate to get out on a river somewhere. Lucky I was working up near Newark, so it was a great opportunity to have a go on one of my favourite rivers, the Trent.

I like the Trent, it’s just a shame I don’t get as much time there as I would like. It’s not the most picturesque river in the world, but the Trent is a highly productive river, with all species of fish doing well, in fact when you compare it with the Severn or Thames, you can see the difference straight away, there are fish everywhere! I don’t know why, but there seems to be such an abundance of small fish, bleak, roach, and perch in there, you can see them topping wherever you go- from the tidal areas below Cromwell Weir to Nottingham town centre there are fish everywhere. Why the zander aren’t bigger in there I don’t know, but a fish over 16lb on the Trent is a BIG zander. The only thing I can think of is that it doesn’t have the elver run that the Severn has, but that’s just a gut feeling, as there are obviously lots of eels on the Trent, as there are several commercial nets men operating on the Tidal. The other reason that the Trent doesn’t do big zander could also be that there are not many people fishing for them? It’s certainly a lot quieter then the Severn, boat angler- wise.

Anyway, I’d got a couple of evenings boat fishing ahead of me and it would be good to test out some of the new boat mods I’d just got done. I decided to give the predators a rest and try for a few barbel, one of the few species that will feed when it’s hot, but are more active at dusk on really hot days.

In my experience, barbel are an easy fish to catch, all you really have to do is find them, put enough bait in to get them rolling and you will have a good day, certainly this is true on the Severn. Yes, big fish are going to be harder to single out, but there is a lot written on barbel fishing that makes them look like some enthralling entity that you can only catch with the best rigs and expensive baits, when the moon is in the right position, etc. which, in my experience, is a load of rubbish.!

t-2 Boilies_01

I like to fish with feeders, using a fishmeal based ground bait, and either fish halibut pellets or small boilies on the hook. What is important is to get a good bed of bait down, which means lots of casting for the first ½ hour or so … or if you are fishing from a boat you can simply drop a load of ground bait off the boat then gently motor away to a reasonable fishing distance, quietly anchor up and cast on to it.

Though on navigable rivers, I doubt is even necessary to move off quietly, the Trent has a lot more boat traffic then most rivers, and on a hot sunny weekend, it can be relentless! Hence it’s better to get your ground bait in, then move and anchor right on the edge of the river to stay out of the “shipping lanes”, and cast back out to your bed of bait. Then it is just a case of watching your rod tips for any bites, though usually with barbel they are nearly always screamers.


There are two baits that I have found work in any river for barbel, and that’s halibut pellets, and source boilies. I prefer to use boilies on the hook, as they do stay on better when being pecked to bits by shoals of small fish, and they are a bit less of a bream magnet. I say a bit less, as they will still take them, but I find they hoover up pellets first. I also like to tip the bait with some fake corn, just to make it stand out really. It may help, it may not, but I’ve caught loads on this set up

hook bait_01

It was at least nice and cool out on the water, but the fish had different ideas, no barbel (Yes, I know I’ve just said how easy barbel are to catch!) but plenty of bream, which can be par for the course on the Trent.

Catching bream is usually a good indication that you’re in the right spot.- what happens is the bream move in, stir everything up, particles move down the flow and then the barbel find them and push the bream out of the swim! It didn’t happen this time, but this is what usually happens on big rivers like this, in fact I can’t remember a time when I’ve not caught bream before the barbel on the Trent!


What is strange is that I know that the Severn and the Wye also fished quite badly during the hot weather, maybe it was the low flows that also compounded the lack of action, but the I found out later that the tidal Trent was fishing it’s head off, in fact one angler had 60 barbel in a day! But most of these were in the 2 – 4lb size range.

I’ll be back, when it’s a bit cooler and probably on the tidal next time, though I will stay away from some of the more popular areas! Why anyone would fish at Collingham Weir is beyond me!


Boat Modifications

I’ve been lucky enough to have a few different boats over the years, and most of my fishing is now from boats in some form or another, but even the most “Gucci” craft out there are rarely set up “just right” for each individual.

My current boat is a 16ft Seastrike semi – v, lure boat. When I first ordered it direct from Seastrike, they made it up to my own specifications, with casting deck, front locker, lure hangers, rod holders, electric outboard mount to name a few things. To be honest it was 95% ideal for most of my fishing.


However after using the boat for a couple of seasons, I was obvious that there were a couple of small things that I could really have done with, non- essentials, but just a few things to make your life a bit more easy when you are out on the water.

So it was back to Seastrike to see if it was possible to do what I wanted, and discuss options.

Firstly I needed some way of securing my leisure battery on the front of the boat, this is where I use my electric engine as a bow mount, and it’s good to get some weight up front to get the boat on a plane quickly. I have made do, by simply placing it up there, but at full whack (it goes at 28mph) on a rough water it really did need securing. The first idea was to put it in a new locker within the casting deck, but this would have meant taking out some of the flotation, something which doesn’t occur to most ad hoc boat moders is that if you do this, you are effectually changing the buoyancy of the craft and thus making the RCD (recreational craft directive) and CE mark invalid, and will nullify any insurance on the craft.

So what we decided on was simply to fix a mounting bracket to the front of the boat, then the 110 amph battery could be strapped down securely during transit, job done.


Secondly, each winter I’ve been doing more and more deadbait fishing at anchor, so there were two things that I needed. 1. A comfy seat mid- deck, I had been making do with sitting on the casting deck, or taking a folding chair, but a bespoke chair would be ideal. Additionally the carpet needed replacing, as it had simply worn out, (I had stamped in loads of fish scales, halibut pellets, mud and fish mucus over the years, so it all took its toll). As the carpet had to be replaced, it was a good time to get the seat put in with a deck- mounted pedestal base. These are brilliant as you can take the seat in and out, so you don’t need it stuck in the way if you’re out casting lures. The down side is that they cost a bomb and you can only really get them from the States. Luckily I managed to grab a couple of base mounts last time I was over there.

So these were drilled and bolted in. The pedestal and mount are Springfield, which are about the best you can get.


2. The other thing I needed for more static fishing was a secondary anchor roller fitted on the stern, for when I am using two anchors. Previously I had made do, with simply pulling it up the back of the boat, but I did on several occasions slam the back of the boat with the anchor, which isn’t best practice! Especially if you have expensive transducers hovering around the same area! So one of these was fixed on the rear starboard side, and the cleat was moved along the gunwale to accommodate this and make tying off easier.


I also wanted another locker putting at the rear of the boat, this was primarily to hold all the stuff I didn’t want littering around in the boat, i.e. various ropes, fenders etc.

It’s amazing what stuff you need in a boat for safety, and some people do without because of the hassle of space, but I also have a throw line and first aid box in this locker. The only problem we had with this installation was that the fuel tank needed to be moved to the other side to accommodate this installation, not a big problem, and I really like where this locker is, as it makes for easy access from the piloting position.


The last couple of things that I had done were a few rods welded into the gunwales, these were simply there to tie things onto, normally fenders, but also attaching points for drogues, keepnet etc. previously I had to put clamps on the side to tie things to, so this just makes it a bit easier.

Finally, the anode was checked and replaced, and two new transducer mounds put in for permanent fixture of HDS transducers, which are a bit big for most standard “clamp on” mounts, and fixing them like this means I simply plug and go, and don’t worry about bending standard mounts at speed!


Hopefully this will be the last set of mods I will do to the boat now, but like anything something new will come along, sometimes I think I foldable cuddy would be good, certainly when static deadbaiting in the rain! But most of the time I’m lure fishing, so it may get in the way?

The only other mods I am likely to do would be to the trailer, as I like the idea of having submersible lights, and getting rid of the stupid trailer board, but that will be next year I think.