Cheesey what?

More than 45 years ago I learned the secret art of  cheese fishing – not for chub in a river but for roach and tench in a park lake! Brynmill Park, Swansea was the venue, home of small roach and cheese fish of wondrous proportions in the eyes of a teenager more used to catching 1oz fish!

PCD-04863Alas Brynmill Park no longer allows fishing but the skills learned from the gurus of the day – Alan Godrich and Paul Huxtable- live on. Poles were not available then, you could get fibre glass telescopic whips up to 6m, elastics unheard of, everything was rod and line.

Alan developed a method of catching the better roach using cheese  just over his rod top in about 3 foot of water. A pointed stick float was dotted with strung out shot to an 18 or 20 hook and a piece of cheese was moulded around the hook so that it was soft and just covered the hook. Small pieces were moulded and rolled as loose feed, only half a dozen at a time, one after the other they were tossed around the pimpled stick, the process repeated every five minutes or so. Bites when they came were dictated by the size of fish! The bigger fish rarely submerged the float, usually a minute lift or dip were all you would get, occasionally just a ripple emanating from the tip of the float, the medium to small fish would just submerge the float. Bait was interesting, Cheddar was the favorite closely followed by Red Leicester for the roach, but Caerphilly picked out the odd tench although it was a sod to keep on the hook!

Today’s weaponry makes it far easier to fish cheese at a greater distance and when combined with a micro pellet loose feed can prove deadly- especially for bream! Most commercial waters these days are fed with pellet, either by the anglers or the owners as a supplement to the anglers bait. Fish become accustomed to pellet but can also become wary, particularly the silvers who often have to wait for any left overs from the carp. Cheese can score as so few people think of using cheese it becomes a new flavour/food for the pellet fed fish and will pick out the older and wiser (usually bigger) specimens in the swim.

So how do I fish cheese today? Depending on the venue, the depth of water will dictate how far out you need to fish. You are looking for a flat bottom with at least 3 feet of water, at Blacklands I am fishing at 8m in 6-7 feet (as the depth is constant) but I would not try cheese any deeper than this unless there was a large head of big roach present. The basic rules still apply, float pimpled, strung out shot if in a shallower swim, my rig at Blacklands has a bulk 2 feet away from the hook and 2 no 10 droppers to a 6 inch hook length of 0.10mm Shogun, with a 20 0r 18 barbless B911. Elastics are very much dependent, as always,  upon the size of fish likely to be encountered. At Blacklands I tend to opt for a no 6 latex, but have an 6-8 hollow rig set up as well if the bigger skimmers or roach move in, although generally I tend to stay on the no 6.

I use two types of float for my cheese fishing, both homemade; the first is a 0.5g version of the “Roach” with a 1.5mm tip for those times when you want a delicate approach and may want to string the shot out later in the day,


the second is a long glass stemmed diamond body variant taking 1g with a 2mm tip. I use this second float when I am confident that there are skimmers around and want to get the cheese down fast. Pimpling the 2mm tip gives a good visual marker even in wind affected water while the long stem gets down past any surface tow.


I prime the swim with a handful of micro pellet and half a dozen “pellets” of cheese cupped in, this is left for at least an hour and is topped up with a similar amount every 30 minutes.


When I go over the swim I am expecting a bite within 5 minutes but this time the bites can be sail-aways if coming from bream or skimmers but the big roach give the same type of bite as all those years ago!



Liquidising Bread part 2 – the rest of the essentials!

The blog on liquidising bread has been receiving a lot of attention so I thought I’d add the other aspect of the method – the bait and getting it on the hook! This may appear to be simple but so many get worried about it or don’t think about this aspect.!

The Bait

I use any fresh loaf, my current favourite because I like it to eat is Warbuttons Toastie (the orange packed one). In reality any fresh sliced bread will do and the thickness of the bread sometimes has a bearing on the fish but even on hard days I will opt for the toastie.

Firstly cut off the crusts and then cut the slice into 4 quarters, now with the back of a knife lay it over the quarter and press down to flatten the bread, repeat this as many times as it takes so the whole quarter is flattened. Repeat for the other quarters. I tend to prepare two slices for a match and if I get through the two slices I’ve had a red lettered day!

Secondly open out some clingfilm and place the quarters on to it so there is a gap of half inch (1-1.5cm) or so between them. Now fold the clingfilm back over them and cut it away from the roll. You can now press down between the quarters so they are individually wrapped. I then fold the whole thing up on itself so that it is at most 2 quarters by one quarter in size.

You are now ready to go fishing! When I am at the peg I will only take one quarter out at a time and any left over will go into the freezer as a standby in case I have forgotten to do some!

Getting it on the hook

There are several styles of punch on the market, most have a slot that you are supposed to put the point of the hook through to hook the bread. I do not use this type, I much prefer the old (bought when I was 16ish) punch shown below. There are a series of different sized brass punches that are stored inside and screw in, Seymo do a similar version with a plastic body. You can see the 3 things needed to punch bread- the quarter, the punch and a solid surface to press onto. My method is to punch the bread then push the bend of the hook (point away from the punch) into the bread and turn slightly, I find this will keep the bread on allowing me to lift and drop. The flattened quarter is also much easier to hook.


You will find that once in the water the punched bread will swell considerably as the water undoes the flattening process with the knife but as a consequence the bread is far more secure on the hook. I tend to use the quarter as a counter, a fish results me in punching on the right, a missed bite, bumped fish, leaf,etc… I punch the left.

Proof of the pudding that the punch works


Hope this helps!

Boddington Take Away

With a silvers match at Boddington Reservoir in late April rapidly approaching I decided to have a day out and do a bit of practice for the match while pursuing the Chinese style of fishing at the same time! The previous occasions I have fished Boddington it has been gale force winds and usually rain at some point; what met me was  a still reservoir and hazy conditions. There were only two other cars in the car park when I arrived shortly before 9am and having made several trips up the ramp with my kit I settled on peg 36 – a shortish walk and no trees behind me.

Peg 36 Bd Peg 36 Boddington

The plan was to start off on the Chinese style “banana” and then try the waggler over the same area to compare the difference before finally having a couple of hours on a more traditional whip but with a Chinese float. I had received three sets of floats from China but had brought just one set to try today, I had also bought a Chinese rig system which was very similar to the old Daiwa plastic hook length retaining spools but were slightly wider and made from foam. The line was held in place by trapping it underneath the spool when put into the purpose made spindle in the box.

Spools IMG_0508Float and spools

The float took a SSG, a no4, no 8 and 3 x no 10 stotz and was fastened on the line bottom end only with a long piece of float rubber. Depth plumbed, approximately 10-11 feet at approximately 18m, I began with 4 soft balls of groundbait ( Red Bream, Explosive feeder and River -equal proportions) and a couple of pouch fulls of hemp and wheat. A single ball was put on the 5m line with a good handful of wheat and a few maggots. I was hoping to avoid any of the carp that Boddington is famous for and target the quality roach. The banana went into action and the haze that greeted me began to lift as the sun got hotter, thankfully occasionally a very gentle breeze blew that made it a very pleasant day.

Banana Bod

The float I was using was about 40cm long and had a multi-coloured tip for more than half that length. I had set the rig so the bulk was about 4feet above the hook with the no 8 and smaller stotzs strung out below that. As a consequence any bites on the drop were very easy to spot and by steady feeding I was soon getting bites that once again were all hit, but this time not landed!

Banana Roach 1

The average stamp of fish you can see above. I was finding that barbless hooks of a wider gape did not suit the “banana” approach as I was dropping too many off, a quick change from the Tubertini 808 (size 20) to a Kamazan B611 (size 18) seemed to work. Another piece of the puzzle to lock away in my memory and ponder on.

After about an hour and a half I packed the banana away (to be honest I didn’t want anyone seeing me fish it!) and went over the same line with a waggler. Bites were still forthcoming but it was noticeable that bites on the drop were a lot harder to spot. I made a mental note to make up some wagglers with ultra long tips to see what effect that would have. Fish came steadily on the waggler and after the bailiff had come around and reported that the carp were not showing anywhere I packed the waggler up and decided to give myself the last 3 hours on the 5m whip.

I set the whip up with 0.12mm Shogun to a 0.10mm Shogun hook-length of  about 3feet. The float was going to be the smallest of the Chinese set – still over 36cm in length with an 18cm tip, set in the same manner as previously. I had about 9-10feet in depth so set the bulk of 3x BB and a No 4 at just below mid depth, followed by four droppers of a no 8 and then 3 x No 10 stotz, hook was a size 18 B611 barbless. I had been flicking wheat and maggots out whilst fishing  but still put another soft ball of groundbait in to begin. Bait was double maggot although I tried different combinations, double red was by far the best.

The next couple of hours shot by with a bite a chuck plus some quality fish (at least 4 roach around the pound mark, plus a bonus perch of a pound and a half plus).

Perch1Roach Pound

The average stamp of roach was around the 3-4oz mark and they were in all levels of the water but sitting at mid depth. How do I know- well the float was brilliant in so much as it accentuated any bites on the drop, making them incredibly easy to read, but I had a bit of help as a guy came down two pegs away and proceeded to cast out what looked like a black mini football into the reservoir with an almighty crash approximately every 5-10minutes for a couple of hours, then ignored it and looked at a tablet and his phone. When he packed up I asked him if it was a depth/fish finder he was testing and it indeed was. He was doing a test feature for a magazine and confirmed that the fish were sitting at all levels but mostly about 4 feet of the bottom. He found the test inconclusive as the bluetooth was not very consistent and kept cutting out so he was off to test it on a river and canal.

Roach hand

All in all a really enjoyable day with lots to ponder on. Bet it is blowing a gale on the match!

Bowood Chinese Style!

Following a couple of threads on different fishing forums got me thinking about trying something different! Firstly although a lot of equipment for the European market is made in China, when you look at the Chinese market the equipment is totally different. I began to wonder what it would be like to fish “Chinese style”, so took the decision to order myself a 17 section 11m carbon  “pole” designed for the Asiatic markets. The pole took about 10 days to arrive and is not a pole in the European sense but a whip, it was telescopic and broke down into a butt section that was approximately 82cm long and 32.3mm in diameter, the tip was 0.8mm. Weight was 635g.

Now on the face of it those specs are not too bad and the advertising pictures show it picking up two coke bottles to demonstrate the power/arc, however being used to a rigid pole and whip when extended this was an eye opener in that the last time I had seen a bend like this was when the Scimitar pole first came out donkeys years ago!

However I thought that I had to give it a go as there must be a reason for it. I had ordered some floats for me to try but as they had been ordered a week after the pole I made up one of my own, with a long 0.8mm glass stem and a multi-coloured 0.17mm top. This took 2 AA, a number 4 and two no 10 stotz.


I decided to go ultra light to the last pegs at Bowood on the last but one day of the season, taking only the whip/pole (so I would not be tempted to do anything else) and a rucksack seat with a net bag and bait (a pot of worms- that remained unused), a pint of maggots, a pint of micros- that remained unused and some groundbait (Explosive Feeder and red Bream 3000).


As you can see from the picture above the “pole” also came with a spare flick-tip, heavier than the original. The plan was to fish it at the full 11.4 m to hand despite the conditions being not very favourable with a strong cold cross wind from right to left. It was a day when you needed wrapping up warm!


The end of the whip had a short piece of strong fabric fixed to it so I tied a small knot in the end and attached the rig using the double loop method. Four balls of groundbait were launched into the 6 foot swim and I began to learn how to cast Chinese style!

There were some interesting points, firstly I reckoned that my float was too light, even though it was heavier than the specialist ones I had sent for, secondly traditional casting with a European whip style just did not work, it was more like a delayed reaction cast to the horizon that was needed, but eventually I got the hang of it.


The pole/whip/banana, to be fair was well made but the last 2m of the tip was wafting around in the wind like a piece of fly line- no that is not quite right, fly line would have been more stable! The pictures above are the banana in action – no there is not a fish on – it really had to be seen to be believed.

Unbelievably the float dipped and I lifted into a fish – a skimmer of about 6 ounces which was carefully guided towards the net. From there on for the next two hours I had plenty of action and what intrigued me was I only missed one bite despite having about 8m of line between tip and float- and that bite was only missed due to me having a cup of coffee at the time! I even had a bream of 3-5 towards the end which was interesting as you could feel the weight and the odd thud but the tip was acting very much like elastic and taking out any lunges very comfortably.

At the end I had 7-12 in the two hours I was there but will investigate this Chinese style further at some point- certainly has given me food for thought.


Bossing the swim 2 – Giant fishing

Bossing the swim (part 2)

Doesn’t time fly! Looking back at the blog I realised that I had never had the opportunity to go back and do the second part of Bossing the swim – part 1 was January 2009!!!

The weather had been wet to say the least over the last weeks in November but the river was starting to fine down, although still up and pushing through. This time I opted for peg 13 above the top weir, a noted chub peg, but I was interested in picking up roach and perch at about 10m using an 18g Giant.


Set up was similar to previously except I had decided to try some 0.20 Fortex rather than my trusty Shogun, to see if it could cope with the rigours of Giant fishing. Hooklength was still 12 inches of 0.10mm Shogun to a 20 and the 18g was made up of small drilled bullets and a barrel lead that could move only about two inches between locking shot of BB (below) and AAA (above). A solitary no 4 was a dropper 4 inches from the hook.

IMG_0386 DSC06107

2009 set up on right.

I decided to start with groundbait and 3 balls with some old squatt and home turned casters were cupped in at 10m. Bait was to be single red, I began by running the float through at the pace of the river just to get a feel of the swim then began inching it down the swim at different rates.


Third trot down I missed a bite (an improvement on my last attempt!) and finally found that if I held it steady in an area about 3m down the swim I would get the odd bite. It wasn’t until I put on a bronze maggot that I finally hooked into a fish, a roach of 3-4 ounces. Over the next two hours I managed to pick up 5 roach and two perch, topping up with a ball of groundbait every half hour or so.


Not a huge catch but satisfying as others were biteless and at least it showed the size of the float can work in adverse conditions. Lollipops, I hear you say, but I have found that the bites on the Giants are more positive than when using lollipops in similar conditions. Just another method in my armoury when a single fish is needed in a team match.

Bossing the swim (Part 1)

Bossing the swim (part 1) written January 2009

You know when you have a “bright” idea one day and it all goes wrong… Well read on!

I had the stupid idea of doing a short piece for the site on a method I have been using on the local river involving the use of my Giant floats, Now the usual pole float people use on the Bristol Avon at Sutton Benger is 1-1.5g, occasionally going up to 2 or 3g if it is pushing a bit. I have been using 5-6g floats on occasions but more regularly 18g monsters that I had made for some Irish customers to use in the Winter Leagues on the Erne. The rationale behind this was if I could control the float absolutely then I could deliver the “perfect” presentation for the roach, tench and bream that were my quarry.

I had a small window of opportunity before my work and junior angling club commitments took over so made the decision to go for it come what may. Well, you guessed it, Saturday came with a hard frost overnight and the river almost three foot up and rising, cursing I decided to do the shopping and chores and hoped that the river had stabilised by Sunday. Saturday night- it rained!

Dragged myself out of bed on Sunday morning and got myself sorted. Flask made, out into the garage to find that the score was now Mice 0 Me 1, sorted that out and reset the trap, loaded the car and set off thinking that at least it had warmed up.


The river was not looking good, about three foot up and a horrible colour but I walked up to peg 136 above the bottom weir and reminded myself that a bad day’s fishing was better than a good day at work and set about sorting myself out.

The swim was about 8 foot deep at 10 metres where there was a nice crease.


The picture shows the 18g Giant I was using, the other float is a 0.5g for comparison, my bulk consisted of 3 x 5g drilled bullets with a series of BB and AA shot either end as locking shot,. Size 20 hook (a Filstar version not available in the shops) was 12inches below the bulk with a single No 4 as dropper.

Main line was 0.20mm Shogun with a 0.10mm Shogun hooklength.


Worms were chopped and groundbait mixed as a standby.

Three droppers of chopped worm went out at 10m and I shipped out and prayed that something would show an interest. ! I was able to present my bait at what ever pace I wanted and was able to nail it still if needed but to no avail!


Four hours and four cups of coffee later and still without a bite, despite also introducing groundbait, I gave up – deciding to return when the river was more obliging. Hopefully during half-term (I’m a teacher for my sins!) I’ll return and finish what I intended!

To be continued…