The bit you should read.

I’ve always been an angler and after around the country moving I wanted to discover and document the best places to fish (where ever I might be) in the way of rivers, lakes, canals and ponds. When previously fishing in South Wales I often fished in club and winter league matches, however living up north presented me with new challenges, venues and angling clubs that I acquainted myself with. Now down in the South West I plan to do the same.

This fishing blog details my angling adventures around the UK (although depending where I am in the country I also sea fish from both Boat and Shore, Carp, Pike and Fly fish). I will be giving a summary of 3 values considered by most anglers as well as the additional Disabled Access rating. Since being diagnosed with CIDP and regaining my motor function Disabled angling and Disabled access is now something I always consider when visiting venues. They will all be rated on a scale of 1* to 5*;

1. Fishability *****

2. Accessability *****

3. Value for Money *****

4. Disabled Access *****

I think these 4 points are the key issues which are readily identifiable with all anglers. Feel free to take a look and add your own comments along the way!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Christmas and no Fishing!

Apologies about the lack of recent postings, I’m afraid I got rather wrapped up in Christmas at home and because of the blasted weather in Wales I didn’t even manage to wet a line (even though my intention was to go at least twice). Now I am back up in Yorkshire I shall be venturing out shortly and will be reviewing my 2 most recent acquisitions. A Shimano Aspire Pro Competition carryall and an Avanti Cyclotherm Suit. I thought that I would review them (the suit especially) as they as offered week in week out in most of the Angling magazines, but I am yet to read a review of what they are actually like. One of my other Gifts which will have a direct result on my future blogging is a subscription to a fishing magazine which will give me the opportunity to exercise a semi-commentary on the issues many of the Elite Anglers who feature in these magazines frequently raise.

So over the next week or so (especially as it a bloody freezing in Yorkshire at the moment) expect to see a quick review of the suit, as it has been far too long since I have cast a line!

Until then feel free to have a read and ask any questions on the posts you see below!


Monday, 19 December 2011

Trip #18 - 2 Casts 1 Fish

The River Aire (near Kirkstall Road) is a hugely frustrating river to fish. Being told by anglers and EA officials alike that it is notoriously patchy meant that any future fishing trips to the river for me would be make or break! The fact that we had nigh on continuous rain for a week would only make things more difficult but Saturday was spent Christmas shopping and I hadn’t been fishing for the best part of 2 weeks! I needed to get out and cast a line. I went down to view a swim I had been told to fish when the river is in flood and decided late on in the afternoon to pop down with my 11ft ledger rod and give it a whirl.

The river was definitely in flood!

Monday, 12 December 2011

The Netting of a Local Pond

A few weeks ago I received an invite from Pete Turner, an Environment Agency officer asking if I would like to watch a local pond being netted for fish. I thought I would be foolish not to. The lake in question is a natural fishery in Cookridge, currently under ownership of the BT Leeds Angling Club (unfortunately although I have been given permission to write about the day I have been asked not to name the lake specifically in this post). Having never fished this particular water I was keen to know what fish the lake held after recent speculation that the lake was frequently visited by the dreaded Goosander!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Trip #17 - Clayton Ponds - Lower Lake!

With limited bait and an uncertain forecast I decided to give Clayton Ponds another go, and this time I would try the bottom lake. Unsure of what to expect and hearing many cautionary tales of the lake I approached it with the intention of either Pole fishing or Slider float fishing on the waggler (given that it is 16 -18 feet deep in places).

Monday, 28 November 2011

Tackle Store Review - BobCo Tackle

Having been to tackle stores in industrial units before and been thoroughly unimpressed I wasn’t sure what to expect before visiting BobCo Tackle. Needing some maggots and casters for a fishing trip the next day I decided to give the store a go as it had been recommended to me by another angler whilst fishing recently.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

River Aire gets stocked! (Again)

Good news for all Anglers for who fish the River Aire in Leeds, Keighley and Bradford.

Over the next few years there should be in increase in catching Barbel as 3000 of the little beauties were released by the Environment Agency at various points along this river just over a week ago. This follows on from a consistent fish stocking programme the EA has undertaken in recent years around this time of year. Releasing fish into colder water is more beneficial as they can travel further in the highly oxygenated water. Tweeting about the release, Environment Agency officer Pete Turner told me that the fish were released “at Kildwick, Bingley, Hirst Wood, Apperley Bridge, Armley and Thwaite Mills. 500 at each site.”

Photo taken from Pete Turners Twitter pictures.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Trip #16 – Highfields

I have been slowly but surely fishing my way around West Yorkshire and after some recent “Tweeting” this time it was the turn of Highfields, a fishery which is tricky to find but worth it when you get there. With an afternoon spare I made my way to the Garforth AC venue and was curious about fishing it as the most recent write up was some years old. Being described as a good “mixed” fishery it was an encouraging and exciting prospect as more subtle tactics could be employed than on most carp ponds.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Trip #15 - Predatory Practice

Although I have caught pike previously on Llangorse in Brecon, on that occasion I was with a pike catching veteran and using lure tactics which I was at least slightly familiar with. I have never really used dead baits to fish for pike although most of the piking world and some of my friends who regularly fish for pike (one recently catching a 27lb monster from Chew Valley Lake) swear by them. So being continuously told that the pike in the Leeds – Liverpool canal ranged from tiny to massive and were to be caught in plentiful numbers I had a few hours spare on a recent weekend afternoon and thought it about time that I set out in search of one these veracious hunters. 

Monday, 14 November 2011

Trip #14 – 2 Days, 2 Venues, 2 Fish

Saturday – River Aire (Stick Float and Feeder)

Continuing from my previous river session a few weeks ago, for all intents and purposes this session was “The decision maker”. After a small but brief spell of success on the river I decided this weekend would be the weekend that I would take my father and brother to fish the river. We arrived at the swim I had previously fished with the hope of catching some chub, roach, dace and minnows! The river was slightly discoloured from the rain earlier in the week but it was running at its usual depth. We set 4 rods up between us, “The Lunker” (as my brother would say) was a heavy feeder rod baited up with a lump of worms and cast downstream close to the edge of some over hanging trees. This would remain out and try and tempt an elusive big chub out the deep!

"The Lunker" was set...

Monday, 7 November 2011

Trip #13 - Clayton Ponds

There is a level of excitement which comes with fishing an unexplored and previously unfished venue and this was increased a hundred times when on my walk around the lake I saw a fairly sizable carp sitting in the margins right next to my peg! Clayton Ponds is 2 lakes containing a mixture of species and from what I had managed to read about the lakes on the Yorkshire fishing forums, both lakes contain some big carp, tench, specimen eels as well as the usual head of silver fish! As it’s not far away from where I live I thought it was high time I paid the lakes a visit.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Trip #12 – River Aire - 2 Days, 2 Methods

Saturday – Stick float

I was at the point of no return with the River Aire. I have been assured that there are big chub in there but I was as yet to see or catch one. So this weekend I resolved to give it my best efforts using various methods to try and put my doubts to rest. I waited for the weather to abate as the morning had been blustery, and I arrived on the river bank to a warm mid afternoon with much less of the earlier wind. I would be using maggots, casters, bread and worm in the hope of catching a river Aire chub.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Tackle Store Review - Garry Evans

From the outside of Garry Evans Tackle Centres it strikes you as peculiar that the stores are spread between 105 and 109 Whitchurch Road. That is until you go in and ask why? For years the store had been split between the 2 stores, but 107 has now been bought by the company and, at some point in the not too distant future it will be converted and knocked through, forming 1 huge store combining all three premises!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Trip #11 - Tricky Trout from the Taff!

Trip #11 – River Taff, Part 1, Sophia Gardens
I’ve been home recently and when I was there I thought it would be a good idea to try and catch a few of the River Taff’s plentiful Trout and Grayling.

Arriving at the river bank after buying our tickets from Garry Evans Tackle Store we found an angler standing in the middle of the river, Spey casting for salmon. We took this as a good sign and although salmon were not our intended target we gathered our equipment together, slung on the chest waders and made our way to the river bank.

My father and I were fly fishing and my brother was using the less conventional pellet waggler, adapted for river fishing...

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Environment Agency Fishing Lists!

I was searching for a list on fisheries, although there are many suggestions on both and I wanted something tangible that I could print off and have look over. A few simple searches later and I had found a fairly comprehensive list (region based) of fisheries throughout the UK courtesy of the Environment Agency! Despite them being slightly out of date they are definitely worth looking at if you’re sitting on your PC (there is a downloading element so might be unwise on a mobile device, roughly 5 – 6mb each).

Here are the links;

Welsh Fisheries guide

Hope you find them useful!!!



Sunday, 9 October 2011

Trip #10 - None Go Bye Farm – Top Lake - Fish to the features or your feet!

I was asked some time ago by my girlfriends father if I could show him how to fish the pole so, when the chance came about I decided to take him None Go Bye Farm to introduce him to the world of pole fishing. We arrived at the lakes to a cold breeze and overcast skies. Having fished the bottom lake previously we both decided to fish the first and largest lake. We choose 2 pegs, one either side of a water inlet, I would be fishing into open water and Jeff would be fishing towards a small island about 12 meters away. After setting Jeff up with a silver fish rig and a variety of bait I set up and began plumbing up my own swim. 

Jeff was set up and ready to fish in a matter of minutes!
I quickly found out that the lake was a constant 3 feet deep, which made setting up my other rigs easier. Baiting swims to my left, right and out into open water meant there was (despite no real features), plenty of potential for catching fish...

Monday, 3 October 2011

Tackle Store Review – Angling and Countrysports, Otley

I found out about this tackle store from the internet and when I arrived at Cross Green I would have walked past Angling & Countrysports had I not done a double take. There was half a second when I thought I was about to walk through someone’s front door.

On entering it looked like an old and established fishing store. Walking in I could immediately see a fair selection of groundbaits on the right, with fishing rods and other equipment on the left. There was also a very helpful section on a small board which displayed adverts of a variety of fisheries in the county, from trout and fly fishing to river and match coarse fishing...

Friday, 23 September 2011

Time for a clean up?

After reading people's opinions and observations on forums, and constantly seeing on twitter that the Environment Agency has made vast steps to clean up our rivers (this is obviously true especially with the recent release of the improved rivers list by the Anglers Mail), I thought about my recent fishing forays and  the unfortunate increase in bank side rubbish I’ve noticed. Whether it was a plastic bag, cigarette box or a few beer cans, the mess seems to be cropping up everywhere and all too frequently.

The route I walked along the River Aire and Leeds-Liverpool Canal
With this in mind I decided to take a short walk to where I would normally either fish on the River (Aire) or the Leeds-Liverpool canal, a walk of no more than 250 meters from my door. The peg I would normally visit has an over-hanging willow tree on the opposite bank which looks like it would hold some fish. On arrival I noticed a trolley and bicycle were squarely in what would be my casting path...

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Trip #9 - Chub Chasing, River Aire

After getting some advice on how best to fish the River Aire, I resolved this weekend to put some of that advice into practice. Visiting Iceland early on Saturday morning to buy some thin frying steak which needed to be chopped into bite sized pieces (I had been assured that this caught fish), as well as replenishing my luncheon meat stock. I then went to spy my swim, which I intended to feeder fish. I had 2 swims in mind after my river side strole, starting in the first swim by casting towards to opposite bank into the slow moving and deeper water and then if it was necessary moving to fish behind a tree which had grown up through the middle of the river. It was looking positively fishy!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Tackle Store Review – Kirkgate Angling, Tackle2U

From the outside Kirkgate Angling, Tackle2U the store looks a little bit run down but crammed full of gear. When you walk into the store it’s less run down than the outside lets on, but it’s absolutely full with fishing equipment. With rods on racks, reels in cabinets, ground bait on shelves and rig bits and bobs all over the walls. I’ve visited the shop previously but only for a quick bait pick up. This time I was taking my pole section to be repaired and although very nervous when I handed my section over to be chopped down, after 5 minutes it was handed back expertly repaired.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Trip #8 - Toms Pond, good weather for ducks!

I don’t know why I thought most fish could be landed on 4 ½lb line, however this was going to be put to the test today. I arrived at Toms Pond to a steady wind of about 15m.p.h and intermittent drizzle. Aside from the weather it was a very nice looking duo of lakes. After a quick walk around it was obvious that today was going to be a tough days fishing.

The layout of the lakes was such that any pegs which offered cover were taken and the ones which were available left the prospective angler exposed to the elements! After speaking to the lady who I paid to fish I learnt that the first lake was mainly filled with carp and some barbel, whereas the back lake has a head of silver fish with fewer specimens. From my walk around the lakes I choose the back lake as it had 1 peg which offered some respite from the weather and I quite enjoy bagging up on silver fish...

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Trip #7 - None Go Bye Farm, Cookridge - 21/08

After a late start I arrived at None Go Bye Farm to an afternoon of warm sunshine. There are 3 lakes and from quickly scanning the 2 lakes at the top of the complex it looked quite popular. I decided to fish the third pond which was furthest away (in the hope it would be quieter). It was still surprisingly busy, and, after a quick walk around I thought it was going to be a difficult afternoon as every peg with cover was taken. That left 5 open water pegs available. I was considering a walk to the other lakes when a man in the corner peg told me he was leaving shortly and offered me his peg, after quickly glancing around I decided that it looked like a good peg to fish and I was told “meat and mussels” did the business. Unfortunately I didn’t have mussels but I did have meat. An angler to my left told me it was a very quiet day and that only silver fish were coming out. I hedged my bets and baited 2 swims, one straight out in front of me and one to the right. As it was a corner peg there was a gap in the lily pads which looked fishy.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Trip #6 - Canal wanderings for Wily Perch!

After walking the canal the previous day for some jack pike I decided to try for some of the bigger Perch I had noticed. The previous day they seemed to be sheltering near the foundations of the bridges, so equipped with half a pint of red maggots, a pot of worms and a waggler rod set up I was away! One of the benefits of fishing with very limited amounts of tackle meant that I could walk up and down the canal to locate the fish, rather than waiting for them to come to me.

I set up initially at the Kirkstall marina and fed a few small handfuls of maggots and set the float to about 4ft. After about 10 minutes the float slipped under, it was a nice roach of about 4ozs, but it wasn’t the targeted species. I fished at this location for another 30 minutes and caught 4 or 5 more roach. I was very easy to shift location; so I decided to move to a wider section of the canal just beyond the marina, walking towards Leeds city centre in search of those elusive perch. There were several roach moving very close to the near side bank which I couldn’t resist trying to catch. My hook bait was dropped into the water along with a handful of free offerings and my float dipped under. It was a very timid bite, but it resulted in a fish of about 6ozs. But, I was after Perch, and I’d yet to catch one so another move was on the cards.

A short walk along the path the canal narrowed as a bridge went overhead. There was less weed around there and you could see the bottom of the canal a lot more clearly. It was also happened to be where I spotted some of the larger Perch the previous day. I flung in a few red maggots and saw some fish pick them off at about half depth. A small underarm flick landed me very close to the opposite banking and it wasn’t long before I landed a small roach, this was followed by... A PERCH! Switching to worm meant another and another. On my next cast I decided to fish very close to the near bank and was very surprised how quickly I connected with a fish, again a perch. This happened another 2 or 3 times, the bank must have been undercut slightly as the fish could be seen darting out from under the near side bank to attack my maggots.

I walked back towards my original location after several more fish, but unfortunately saw no sizable perch, although I sat down and caught a few more roach.  Despite my best efforts I didn’t manage to catch a perch of any great size. For future outings, on the advice of an angling friend of mine I might use flavoured maggots (Madras flavour) in the hope for something a bit bigger. Still it was an enjoyable afternoon walking up and down the canal, I’ll certainly be visiting it’s banks again shortly and will hopefully get a specimen Perch (or Roach, I’m not fussy!)

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Trip #5 – River Aire, Leeds - Minnow, More Minnows, and MORE MINNOWS!

The best way to utilise a day of is to go fishing, and that is exactly what I did (for a few hours). Today’s weather did not favour the fisherman, blowing a steady 15 mph and gusts of up to 35, the odd shower and a mixture of sunshine and heavy deep grey clouds meant it was going to be very difficult. After a morning of pottering around for waiting for the weather to calm I decided to go for a walk to both the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and the River Aire which are both a short walk from my home. I have fished the river very sporadically in the past and I know it is packed to the banks during the summer and autumn with minnows and gudgeon. Various Internet searches left very little to go on with some reports detailing big and wily Chub, potential Barbel and the occasional specimen Roach. Others complaining it was under stocked, over fished and horribly abused, yielding very little at best.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Store Review - Leeds Angling Centre, Armley

Leeds Angling Centre, visually it looked quite tired and I’m probably wrong in saying this but I got the distinct impression the gentleman behind the desk wasn’t particularly interested in my custom. After I hung around about and checked out what the store had to offer it was obvious that he was a wealth of information to the right people, but when I approached him and asked fairly specific questions about where to fish and what was catching, that information seemed to disappear.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Trip #4 – Swillington Park Lakes - In Meat We Trust!!!

It’s always exciting when you fish a new fishery, and this time it was the turn of Swillington Park Lakes. Having fished various sections of the canal I fancied a change so I Google’d “Fishing in Leeds” and it popped up straight away!

On arrival I had a walk around the lakes; there are 5 lakes in total some looking more established than others.

Trip #3 – 10/07/11 - Leeds-Liverpool Canal – Kirkstall Breweries.

After speaking to the staff at Leeds Angling Centre it would seem that the further out of Leeds you go  on the canal the better fishing, so again using Google Maps, I found a small car park off Wyther Lane, near the Kirkstall Breweries. On arrival, there was definitely less debris in the canal, and at first glance I saw a small school of large (ish) roach moving up the centre of the canal. The weed, although still heavy seemed to be more controlled. After walking the bank, I decided against fishing in between the ducks and choose a spot opposite the main brewery building; it was a wider area of the canal and gave me a opportunity to fish 2 swims.

Trip #2 - Leeds - Liverpool Canal - Redcote Lane, Leeds - Ready Steady Blank!

I had every intention of catching hundreds of fish in a short session after work session, however sadly this was not the case. I decided to visit the peg I had fished on the previous weekend, and finally set up shop about 10 feet from my original peg.

Arriving and setting up shortly before 6 meant the clouds opened just as I got comfortable, so I spent at least 5 minutes taking cover under a nearby tree. It was a very short session, and I’ll admit I only had 2 bites (missing them both). It was made even more frustrating by the fact that I could see the fish swimming around, but could do nothing to catch them. I had also forsaken maggots for worm and bread on this trip, tempted but the lure of catching a big roach on a ‘light’ elastic, as the angler I met on the weekend had.

There is something about a blank which leaves you feeling a bit saddened, so you quickly look for things to blame (well I do anyway), I will lay the entire responsibility for my non-existent catch on the fact that I didn’t have any trusty maggots or casters, and will certainly remember to bring some next time!

Trip #1 – 03.07.11 - Leeds – Liverpool Canal – Redcote Leeds , Leeds

How did I find this location? Google Maps! I’ve only walked the canal a few times, but anyone with eyes can see, despite the odd chair, television, traffic cone and bike, that the canal is full of life.

There are lots of fish whizzing about if you stand there and have a look. When I first investigated the swim I spoke to a local angler who was using bread and the 1lb+ roach in his net seemed to suggest he knew what he was talking about, although it was easy to see from the clarity of the water that fishing now would not be an easy thing. This coupled with the seemingly monstrous weed growth close to each bank meant it may be a trip fraught with tangles and weed.