Back On The Brook

Wayne Swinscoe recently spent an enjoyable few hours tackling a small brook that he hadn’t fished for 40 years. Here’s how he got on:


After the wind and rain of the last few weeks it was nice to get out fishing in the sunshine! Armed with a couple of pints of old maggots, I decided to visit a venue I hadn’t fished for probably 40 years. It’s just a brook, normally just six inches deep and a few yards wide, but when the River Trent is carrying water it can offer some fantastic fishing.

As the Trent had broke its banks, the brook was now around 8ft deep! The colour was a bit too brown, but I still fancied catching a few fish.

I was only going to fish for a few hours, so it was a one-rig job. I set up a 1g float with an olivette and three No10 droppers to a size 20 Team England Carbon Maggot hook to a 0.08mm bottom.

Fishing five joints of my Acolyte pole in conjunction with No5 elastic I waited 20 minutes for a bite. I was starting to think I wasn’t going to get one! As I swung in a chunky dace I suddenly became a bit more interested.


River ace, Wayne Swinscoe.

Although sport was not as good as yesteryear, I was just getting enough bites to really enjoy the session. Three hours, 20 dace and two roach later it was time to beat the traffic.

On reflection, if the colour had been better with no frost in the morning I think the fishing would have been even better. Hopefully I can return to give the brook another go… but it won’t be in 40 years!

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Latest Video: Winter Roach

Our latest film stars Steve Hemingray, Joe Roberts and Lee Klimczuk each explaining how to bag up with roach on a winter river.


It turns out to be a red letter day with all three catching plenty of fish on the River Glen in Lincolnshire. More importantly, our three experts pass on plenty of tips to help you to catch more fish on your local river.

Watch the video »

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Klimmy & Polly Win Again

Lee Klimczuk and Mark Pollard have won the Drennan Sensas Pairs League for the second consecutive year.


The popular event saw 24 pairs fishing the River Glen and the Town Welland in Lincolnshire. Polly and Klimmy managed to win the first round in style and then stay top of the league all the way through to the end. Despite a tricky fourth and final leg the talented duo just managed to hold onto the title and take the top prize with a combined 84lb+ weight.


  • 1st Lee Klimczuk (Drennan) & Mark Pollard (Dynamite) 84–1-8
  • 2nd Joe Oakes (Middy) & Adey Reynolds (Quorn) 82–15-8
  • 3rd Steve Hemingray (Drennan) & Rob Wootton (Shimano) 82–3-14
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England World & European Squads Announced

The Drennan Team England squads for this year’s World and European Championships have now been announced by co-managers Mark Addy and Mark Downes.


Team England 2016: (Top row L-R) Alan Scotthorne, William Raison, Steve Hemingray, Sean Ashby, Des Shipp. (Bottom row L-R) Callum Dicks, Matt Godfrey, Matt Derry, Cameron Hughes, Lee Kerry.

There is no change to the World Championship squad that did so well to secure a bronze medal in Slovenia last year. This year’s event is at Plovdiv, Bulgaria, on the 18th and 19th September. This is a 2km rowing course and a venue England have experience on, including a silver medal position. However, the venue is often drained and restocked so teams are currently unsure what the key tactics or species will be this time.

World Championship Team:

  • Alan Scotthorne
  • William Raison
  • Sean Ashby
  • Steve Hemingray
  • Des Shipp
  • Callum Dicks

This year’s European Championship is to be staged on the Almere Canal in Holland on the 23rd and 24th July. This is historically a difficult venue but with roach, perch and bream expected to be the main species, they should be familiar and well-versed with the tactics required to catch them.

A fresh mix of youth and experience has been picked, which sees World Champions Alan Scotthorne, Sean Ashby and William Raison joined by Lee Kerry, Matt Godfrey, Matt Derry and Cameron Hughes.

European Championship Team:

  • Alan Scotthorne
  • William Raison
  • Sean Ashby
  • Lee Kerry
  • Matt Godfrey
  • Matt Derry
  • Cameron Hughes
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Chub In Tough Conditions

Windows of opportunity on the river have been small this winter with all of the rainfall we have received. But, when all else is virtually unfishable for, there’s always one species that will be more likely to feed, chub. 


Locate slacker water behind snags such as over hanging or sunken trees, this is where fish will be held up out of the main flow and by presenting a single smelly hookbait in these areas, you might just be able to tempt one into taking.

Adam Fisher uses his 1.5 Series 7 Avon/Quiver rod fished with a robust mainline straight through to the hook, using Float Stops to create a simple link to which he attaches a small lead. The Float Stops are perfect for the job, they allow you to vary your hooklength as much as you like without the need of replacing the hooklink.

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Trio Of Stour Chub For Gaz

Every year Gaz Fareham’s attention switches over to running water and with just one species in mind, chub.


Winters these days are almost exclusively reserved for the rivers for me. I love the diversity that the seasonal change and shift to flowing water brings. Plus, I spend so much of my time in pursuit of carp during spring, summer and autumn that a change is undoubtedly as good as a rest and I actively look forward to the winter season.

Chub have been my quarry of choice for a few years now. Having the mighty Dorset Stour on my doorstep is undoubtedly a huge asset and I have tried to make the most of having one of the finest chub rivers in the country so close to my home, searching for the elusive seven and even rarer eight pounders it holds.

Usually, it is evenings, after dark, roving with cheese paste for me, a few hours here and there after work, aiming to pick out the bigger specimens. I do get the occasional full day and when the river is right for it, trotting with maggot is undoubtedly one of my favourite ways to catch them; watching that little orange-tipped stick float meander its way down the crease, set against a backdrop of wintery hues is one of the best, and most simple pleasures angling has to offer.

After a few weeks of massively fluctuating river levels, and a few big plugs of floodwater coming through, this week I managed to nip out for a quick impromptu late afternoon and I had a feeling the river would be running just right for the maggot and float and being keen to test out my new 14ft Acolyte Ultra float rod.

A quick stop at Bournemouth Fishing Lodge for five pints of reds and I was set. I chose a nice little trot just down from the New Weir area at Throop and settled in, feeding for 45 minutes before starting the trots through. It didn’t take too long to latch into one and soon I had a scale-perfect, burnished bronze chub, just over 5lb on the unhooking mat.

It took a bit longer for the second bite to come, this time right down at the very tail end of the trot. After a lengthy battle on 3lb 2oz Float Fish mainline and a light 2lb 8oz hook link with size 20 Wide Gape hook, a lovely long Stour chub was safely in the net, weighing in at 6lb 13oz. Two trots later I had another in the net, again coming from right at the very tail of the crease, this time slightly smaller at 6lb 8oz, completing a lovely February trio of chub.

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Russian Roach On The Feeder

Even with heavy snow to contend with, Sergey Kuzmin has been catching plenty of quality roach from his local river in Moscow.

The fish pictured were all tempted on white maggots or bloodworm on a size 16 Team England Super Carbon Maggot hook to a fine 1.1lb (0.75mm) Supplex hooklength. Sergey was fishing 32 metres out with a groundbait feeder and a Matchpro Medium Feeder Combo at its shorter 11ft 6in length. In five busy hours he managed to catch plenty of quality roach for a very healthy 7.7kg (17lb) total.

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Huge River Perch

Simon Brough dedicates a lot of time each season during the colder months targeting big perch on his local rivers and this year he has been rewarded for his efforts with a huge perch of 4lb 14oz.


Simon has been using a 10ft Drennan Puddle Chucker Carp Feeder for his perch fishing as it allows him to access tight spots along the river and carefully lower his bait into position.

“I like to use a light glass tip as they are very sensitive and allow me to see the most delicate of bites. At the rig end, I use a simple running leger with a 20g Oval Cage feeder and an 18-inch hooklength of 5lb Supplex Fluorocarbon tied to a size 10 Wide Gape Specialist hook.”

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Chew, The Lake Of Dreams

This year we were lucky enough to be able to join Martin Bowler and Steve Rowley on the banks of Chew Valley Lake on its opening day for pike fishing.

Chew Valley Lake is well renowned for its scenic beauty and top quality pike fishing, with fish caught in excess of 40lb each season, which makes it every pike angler’s dream venue. It’s an impressive reservoir with an average depth of 14ft and a maximum depth of 37ft.

chew-9On arrival, we were greeted with gale-force winds with gusts of up to 40mph. They both knew that presenting a bait at any distance would be a real challenge. Both Martin and Steve began by trying to cast their deadbaits out but were only reaching 30 yards due to the strong winds pushing directly into their bank.

chew-8A decision was made and Martin decided to risk it all and use his bait boat, which would hopefully allow them to get their hook baits into 10ft of water around 60 yards out. This is a successful depth that they both look for at this time of the year when pike fishing at Chew. With the plan to use a bait boat a success and all dead baits in place, they sat back and awaited the first bite.

chew-4Within minutes of placing the final rod on the rest, Martin’s indicator dropped back and braid began to peel off the reel. With the fish steadily taking line Martin wound down and gave a firm strike with his E-Sox Piker Bait Rod to set the hooks, the rod hooped over and the battle commenced. The fish initially made a run to the left, towards Steve’s swim, but applying steady pressure and keeping the rod low the fish soon turned and made it’s way back across the swim, edging closer to the waiting landing net. When the fish finally glided over the net there was a huge sigh of relief for both. Steve stared down into the folds of the net and shouted, “It’s a thirty!”

chew-5The pair lifted the scales and the needle flew past 30lb with ease, settling on 34lb 12oz! A true giant, the reason many pike anglers flock to the banks of Chew every year to be in with a chance of landing one of the real monsters that reside within the lake. With a new personal best from Chew for Martin, he was lost for words, completely captured in the moment.

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Wins For Klimczuk & Vandervleit

Lee Klimczuk and Chris Vandervleit were in match winning form at the weekend. The former Essex County team mates both managed to win their respective winter leagues with quality bags of silverfish.

Chris Vandervleit (left) and Lee Klimzcuk.

Chris Vandervleit (left) and Lee Klimczuk.

Lee was on the Meadowlands Silverfish League near Coventry and won the match with a bag of roach and skimmers on Warren Pool. After a slow start he chose to attack the swim quite heavily with loose fed casters and it paid off handsomely in the shape of a 19lb winning catch.

“I had a really slow start with Darren Cox and Darren Davies catching really well either side of me from the start,” Lee explained. “They both had over 6lb after two hours while I had a pound or so! I thought it could have perhaps been a carp in my swim. I just kept my head and stuck with it and eventually the roach turned up with five or six skimmers mixed in.

“All the fish were caught with loose fed casters on the long pole. I fished a size 20 Silverfish Match and a 0.07mm bottom with 0.1g and 0.2g AS3 floats. The most important thing was to work out where the fish were in the tow, which was changing all the time.”

Chris Vandervleit was fishing much further south at Lake John fishery in Essex and made no mistakes off fancied Peg 13 to win the latest Drennan-backed Winter League.

“I decided to fish a waggler at 25 metres and the ‘tea bag’ two metres off the island,” he explained. “On the waggler line in open water I loose fed Bait-Tech 4mm expander pellets with a 4mm or 6mm on the hook. For the island swim, my PVA ‘tea bags’ were filled with 2mm pellets with a banded 6mm on the hook.

“The first hour was spent on the tea bag and I caught five skimmers for about 10lb. The next four enjoyable hours were spent on the waggler, nicking odd skimmers and bream to win the match with 28lb, just beating waggler expert Michael Scanlan by 8oz.

“For tackle, I used my Acolyte Ultra 13ft with a straight 2+ Peacock Waggler. Hook was a size 16 Silverfish Pellet to 0.12mm Supplex.”

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