Saturday, 8 September 2012

Ultralite trolling with Chief

After getting out with Woodchucker the other week I was invited again to go out on the boats. This time there was to be two boats, with me and Neil (Chief) in his boat and Woody and Grant in the other. The river was in decent condition, the weather was pretty hot and we had the intention of using ultralite set ups to catch plenty of fish and have some good fun. I'd only previously met Neil once, bumping in to him on the local river as I went for a roam and had ventured in to his territory but we'd chatted before on the forums plenty and he actually lives only a couple of miles from me. Grant was new to both me and Neil but everyone knew Woody and we all share the same cyberspace. Grant seemed a good chap, up for a laugh with the lads, a good fisherman and plenty of knowledge, not bad at all for a Lancastrian but unfortunately he'll have to live with that large fault.

Woody rubbing it in
The bit of mist that had been rolling across the fields had started to lift by the time we got to our launch ramp. As we unpacked the gear we hit on our first problem. Woody had no power but after a bit of a fiddle Grant tracked it down to a loose connection on the battery. Having no power, and no fish finder would have been a bad thing especially when the aim was to help Neil set up and test his boat and fish finder. We got in the river and set off, only to then fall on another problem. Neil seemed to be having trouble with his fish finder. After lots of faffing around and head scratching, he found a bit of loose wiring. This didn't look good and we were getting nothing on the screen. While all this was going on, Woody and Grant were patrolling and bagging a few jack pike and perch just to rub it in. Neil was getting a bit frustrated as I would have been had it been my kit.These things happen and not everything goes to plan. While Neil carried on wiggling wires I had a few casts and got a pike of about three and half pounds. Then our luck changed and there was life in the fish finder. Whatever Neil had done had sorted it and off we went in search of some fish. There was a chance the dodgy wire could fail again at any time but at least for now we had some real time information to help us.

Neil gets his first fish
We got going and not too long in to the ride Neil bagged his first fish. I think that was a moment of relief for him and made him feel much better about everything. Hopefully now we could just concentrate on fishing, if only that cable would hold up. We then picked up the odd small perch or small pike between us and things were looking up.

Woody and Grant were now ahead of us and we could see them picking up fish too and the sun was starting to get a hold and warming up nicely. Neil then had a take but this time it felt a bit better, especially on a very light set up. I could see a good bend in the rod and as it came closer we figured a net be of use this time and then as the pike came to the surface we could see the first double figure fish of the day. I scooped up the fish, Neil got the hooks out and we both noted how slim the pike was. Had this fish been in better condition it would have been a mid double at least instead of a low one of around eleven pound, but still it was a great fish to catch on the ultralites.

Small lure big mouth

Pity this fish wasn't in top condition

When using a boat you have a few advantages, you're more mobile and can cover lots of water and lots of places you can't reach from the bank. Another advantage is the use of the fish finder, keeping an eye out for features, depth and fish. Neil had spotted an interesting spot on the fish finder and then hooked the double, so he made a call to return to the same spot and go over it another time. This call paid off when Neil hooked another good fish. This one not as long, but certainly in much better condition. Great result and a good bit of skippering. Neil was on a good run now and seemed to have the fish finder troubles left behind.
Good conditioned 8lb pike

We'd notched up a few fish between us by now and it was good sport. I then got my first decent knock of the day and was playing a fish. It felt a bit bigger and was putting up a great scrap, but I knew it was nothing in the league of either of those last two fish from Neil. Then as the fish neared the boat, the flash of stripes greeted us. Neil quickly got a hold of the fish and scooped it in to the boat. What a lovely perch, I was made up. This one went in the bag to be weighed and Neil told me it was two pound seven ounces. Not a monster by perch standards, but a lovely fish and one which I am now claiming as my pb perch, since i've never really weighed them or photographed many. It's always great to notch up a new pb and I was chuffed. That would do me for the day even if I caught nothing else. I was also glad I'd purchased the new ultralite rod because I could much more appreciate the fight this fish had in it.
2lb 7oz pb perch

We plugged on and again picked up a few more perch and pike between us with a couple more decent perch each well over a pound. Meeting up with Grant and Woody they were having similar results and Woody had bagged a nice perch over two pounds. I don't know what it was, but every time we went near that other boat, Neils fish finder would play up. The other two headed up stream while Neil tried to get some pictures back on his screen. I made a few casts to the bank and I had what felt like a hit but didn't hook. I cast back at it and felt something in the same spot again, but wasn't sure if it was a bit of a twig or something under the surface. I figured on another cast because I was certain that at least the first knock was a fish and there it was, fish on. It wasn't a big fish but as it came in to view it was a pleasant sight indeed, another pb for me. I've caught plenty of chub in my time, but this was my first lure caught chub, what a cracking result.

pb lure caught chub

We had a bit of a quiet spell with not much showing. The fish finder blinked on and off a couple of times but Neil kept managing to get some life back in to it. with Woody and Grant now visible in the distance we could see Woody was dealing with something, possibly a lump? As we got closer the boat chat told us he'd actually hooked a bream, foul hooked in the dorsal fin. We exchanged banter and threw lots of abuse at Woody, it seems that's what happens on these double boat trips. Woody is man enough to take it and dish a bit out, but I'm not so sure he's keen on those bream though.

We parted company again and me and Neil bagged a few more fish each. I had a couple of small pike totally engulf the lure and so too did Neil. The pike had seemed to have switched off and it had mainly been perch for a while but these couple of small jacks appeared and really did hit the lures.

These pike were hammering the lures

Again we caught up to the other two and could see in the distance Woody was dangling a carrier bag in the water, the carrier bag obviously full of water and a fish inside. They were saving something good we knew that and as we got there we were greeted with the sight of another clonking perch, this one falling to Grant and weighing in at two pound eight ounces.

Grants 2lb 8oz perch

We stopped off at a pikey looking spot and proceed to throw the larger lures around. Woody bagged a couple and there were quite a few follows, some decent fish too. I managed to hook one on the reel eel, felt a couple of head shakes and then it made a dive for under the boat. Unfortunately the hooks came out and I didn't get to see how big a pike it was. We headed up stream ad then Neil realised he was half way in to his fuel supply. This journey, accompanied by another boat, was to find the cracks and iron out the creases and Neil was getting those sorted. We'd covered plenty of water but I think this trip convinced Neil to bring his larger fuel can next time. We turned round and headed back downstream and to be honest much of the fishing was a bit quiet. We soaked up lots of sun, unhooked the odd snagged lure and passed a few pleasure boaters. Even though the fish didn't seem to be coming out now it was still a great way to spend the day. Finally we started to pick up a few more perch with the odd pike thrown in and at least this way we were finishing off with more fish instead of a bit of a lull. Neil then hooked into another half decent perch but somehow between trying to get a photo of the perch with lure still in it's mouth, instead we ended up with Neil and the perch attached to each other. I helped separate the two, leaving the new fishing badge to be seen in the trophy shot.

Neil with his Blue Peter fishing badge

Meeting back up again it was clear the run downstream hadn't been as fruitful but we'd all still picked up some fish each. We had one final fling nearer to the launch ramp, swapping between large lure, ultralites and even doing a spot of jigging. I'm not sure much more was caught here but I did pick up another small perch and pike jigging with some small soft 4plays to cap off a great day for me. I'm sure the other three enjoyed the day too. Plenty of fish caught, some nice perch, a double figure pike, a bream and a chub. I know my own tally was 8 pike, 13 perch and a chub. I even managed to bag more perch today than I have the whole year so far and I guess that's plenty to do with actually targeting the properly instead of half arsed like normal.  Neil had a similar result to me with a couple of extra pike to his tally than I did. This time out on the boat we achieved what we'd set out to do and that was have some fun on the ultralites and let Neil test his new (ish) boat set up.

Cheers for the invite lads what a cracking day!

2012 pike tally 
Doubles 29
Total 186
Largest 22.5lb
Twenties - 2
Bonus Perch 22
Largest 2lb 7oz
Bonus chub - 1


  1. What a great write up Paul! Those are the kind of days you quite happily have every week!

    1. Thanks matt, it was a good day, one I really enjoyed.