Back To Brafferton

Simon R

Regular member
Site Supporter
May 19, 2002
We should have been on the Swale last weekend but the almost incessant rain of the previous week ensured that that wasn’t going to be possible. There was approximately 4-5 feet of floodwater in the river, which was predicted to rise a little higher before running off, very slowly and crossing the morass of brown swirling water at Topcliffe I was pretty resigned that we would be on a stillwater today.


We headed for Brafferton in the hope there’d be some pegs free and although there were matches on Ghost and F1 , Spring Lake was empty. The owner is evidently doing some work down there – there’s a mini-digger parked up at the entrance to the lake and the whole of the right hand side is a sea of mud with big ruts cut into it. So we fished the left-hand side and I spread the seven of us along the first fourteen pegs.

Peg one is a bit of a flier, with a dense bed of reeds all down one side. The reeds always hold fish, the difficult part is extricating them which depends in turn on how close to them you need to fish in order to get bites. When Rob pulled out peg one I figured we might all be fishing for second place – put a good angler on a good peg and there’s often only one outcome.

Peg seven stuck to my paw – it’s a peg I’ve fished before and is just at the end of the first island - due to the overhanging vegetation it’s not possible to get into the shallower water around the island, although the feeder fished alongside it sometimes produces. Other than the feeder I settled on two main areas for the pole – straight out at 8m and down my left-hand margin where I had good depth of pushing three feet.

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The right hand margin was only a foot deep and I wasn’t convinced it was worthwhile fishing, although I dropped some bait in there anyway – if any fish did arrive they should give themselves away in the shallow water. Down the left-hand margin I chopped some worms and a few cubes of meat – I didn’t have a lot of worm so I minced up some of the Bacon Grill I’d cubed the night before.

(Other brands are available :p )

On the 8m line I just trickled in a few 6mm pellets and maggot. I had two rigs set for here, both identical other than one terminated in a B911 size 14 (for worm, meat or banded pellet) and the other size 18 (maggot or bits of worm) . I started on single maggot and had barely shipped out when a shout from George on peg 3 indicated that Rob had a fish on already. The first hour was spectacularly unsuccesful – half-a-dozen small silvers on the 8m line. Frankie had snared a carp to my left and Kev caught one when, after catching a little roach, he dropped the shredded maggot and hook into the margins and almost got his rod dragged in as a passing carp snaffled the bait.

I’d kept the margin line topped up with more worm and a couple of nuggets of groundbait so decided to have a look over it with half a dendrobena on the hook. First put in saw me get a 3oz skimmer and next chuck something that pulled back a bit which turned out to be an F1 of maybe 2lbs. I got another followed by a little mirror carp and then it went quiet so I potted more chopped worm in. After a bit of a wait I hooked something that was thumping hard and trying to get back into the margin I’d just pulled it out of, suddenly it gave up and a nice perch about a pound popped up, next chuck I got another about 10oz, followed by a tiddler which was my cue to top up again.

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That sort of set the tone for the next couple of hours – a couple of F1s then a few skimmers and then either a small perch or roach indicated the better fish had moved off and I refed. I wasn’t gonna break any records but I was getting a few fish and if hadn’t been for the manky weather I would have really enjoyed it.

The line died entirely with about an hour left so I chucked the feeder out – I’d fetched a couple of barbel rods with me and since one was as yet unchristened I pulled that out of the holdall – 12’ Shakespeare Borak (circa 2004) that I bought from a local car boot sale for the princely sum of eight quid earlier this year. I just used an inline groundbait feeder and an 18” hooklength to a size 12 and two half dendrobenas on the end.

I wasn’t all that confident of catching a great deal and after dropping the feeder in about a foot from the trailing branches I poured a coffee and sat back to await developments. I’d only had a sip when a tentative three foot pull indicated I might have a bite. Dunno why F1’s have a reputation for being shy biters I got four in a row and every one would have pulled the rod in if I didn’t have my hand on it. Sport slowed so I refed the margin line and had a look back over it and was pleased to see the fish had returned. For the remainder of the match I switched between the two methods picking up odd skimmers and more F1s. At the end I had no idea on my weight but knew it was over 20lb and was hoping to get third spot – I didn’t think I could beat George who’d caught from the start and Rob was way out in front.

We started the weigh-in down at Barry on peg 14 who’d fished the old faithful Stillwater Blue in the margin almost all match for a nice mixed bag weighing 18lb 11oz.


Tink had caught in the margin and further out and weighed 14lb 6oz


Frank had a couple of carp for 3lb 1oz


My net was a bit heavier than I thought and I was happy with 34lb 6oz


Kev had a load of whip caught silvers to go with his early carp and totalled 5lb 12oz


It was closer than I thought between George and myself – I think he had a few more quality fish than me and hence weighed 36lb 2oz .


Finally Rob needed two nets for his all carp (barring one skimmer) catch. All caught on the tip, to prevent lots of elastic stretching and swearing as another pole rig gets trashed in the reeds. He managed to get 33lb 14oz in each net – 67lb 12oz in total – which is the best weight of the season so far.

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This was the river at Thornton Bridge at about 4pm yesterday

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Next match we’re back at Dromonby Farm on November 3rd – one or two missing so probably room for a guest or two.



Sep 5, 2019
Good stuff ... do you ever hair rig baits when fishing a pole? Just curious as I'm new to pole fishing. I caught with a banded rig but im wondering if people ever use a normal hair rig. Cheers for taking time to wright this up ?