Saturday, 26 June 2010

England 3 points Dan 2 points

I am no real follower of football and subsequently do not support any particular team but saying this I am rather partial to the watching the international tournaments, especially where the England team are involved. Now unless you have been living under a rock for the last two weeks you will know exactly what is coming.
After their first poor performance against the USA then the absolutely crap performance against Algeria I really could not force myself to watch England put us all through it again. So instead I dealt with this awkward situation as best I could and booked a day off work with the intention of placing myself in a self imposed exile on the tree shrouded hill's of the Warwickshire countryside until the England match was over. Where upon when I returned we would either be in or out of the world cup.

Not too dissimilar to the England sides last two results, I had fished Snitterfeild reservoir on two previous occasions and both time my tactics and formation had let me down. This fixture was to be decidedly different as since my last last attempts I have recalled my pole into my squad after three years in the tackle wilderness of the shed.

Since rediscovering my old pole fishing days I have been surprised at how many fishing situations I find myself considering using it in, largely due to it's effectiveness. I set up in a swim I know to be reliable for crucians and before doing anything spent a good ten minutes plumbing up the swim and adjusting the depth of my preprepared pole rig. Once satisfied I mixed up a sloppy batch of Bait tech super G gold fish meal ground bait and cupped in five cupfuls which as I expected formed a nice cloud as it slowly settled. This was followed by two potfuls of micro fish meal pellets plus a few grains of sweetcorn which were sprinkled from height to give a good spread over the top of the ground bait.

Whilst this settled I spent some time finishing off my rig. The rig itself was simple four feet of 3.5lb line with a drennan 4x no12 carp float dotted down so it just sank. To keep the tip of the float just a pinprick on the surface I dipped the last five millimetres in bristle grease to repel it against the water film. Most of the shot was set just above the hook link apart from two tiny dust shot six inches from the hook. The hook link was a pre bought Kamasan x strong wide gape barbless size 16 tied onto 18" of 2.12oz mono.

I was expecting to be pestered by Roach or Rudd so the maggots were left in the bag and instead soft hooker pellets or paste were to be the  hook bait of choice in this crucial grudge match. First put in the float dipped under after only seconds, my instant strike was met with good resistance as the no7 elastic shot from the top kit. 
Crucian 1 lb 10oz

Quickly the score was Dan 1 Snit 0 A quick snap and I was back out again. Immediately I was in again.

1lb 8oz 

Dan 2 Snit 0

I could only hope it would go this well for England later today. Pushing on in the hope of an easy point my next two shots produced two roach of 5 and 2oz which was followed by a very familiar fish.

Remember me Andy! 1lb 2oz

Dan 3 snit 0

After this I went on a bit of a roach streak adding fish of 3, 2, 3, 4oz then again the slight dip of the float tip produced another crucian.

One eyed willy here may have been a little disabled but at 1lb 14oz it was the biggest so far.

Dan 4 Snit 0

This last fish pushed me well over the record weight but with some thoroughbred roach having the pellet I continued as before knowing it would only be a matter of time before I got the roach point to.

Next I hooked into something a bit bigger. At first I suspected a sneaky bream that hadn't got the memo informing them to stay away, but after steering the unseen fish around the weed beds a flash of gold caught my eye...

2lb a Snitterfield PB (Thanks to Dave for taking the Pic)

Dan 5 Snit 0

With over 8lb of crucians in under three hours I made the choice to try and pick the roach out instead by dropping the float four inches to bring the bait of the bottom out the way of the feeding crucians.

This quick change in tactics had an instant result when this nice roach took a liking to the soft pellet hook bait.

At just under a pound in weight I knew it wouldn't take many to get over the roach record weight, and I was not wrong as it only took four more of a similar weight and a few bits to bag a confident four pounds fourteen ounces.

At half time I pondered my next move over lunch. Perch or carp were the two species that I was considering. But with the midday sun high in the sky and a few carp moving around on the surface the choice was simple.
After filling my weigh sling with a few essentials and dumping all the rest of the kit back in the car I wandered  off with a single rod to shaded spot near the giant weed bed to begin the second half.

My managerial decision turned out to be as ill founded as not playing Joe Cole in either of the first two England matches. Every time a bait was cast in or any freebies hit the water the flock of ever present ducks slowly crept in and mullered the effin lot. After this dark shapes would appear under the surface attracted by all the commotion.

A second change in approach saw me putting individual baits just onto the weed line near moving fish but still the duckies kept seeing the bread. About this time out of nowhere something swooped down at he unsuspecting ducks sending them in all directions. I only just managed to spot it as it pulled up from the water then circled round the lake. At first I thought it was a crow or buzzard but it was far too small for both, but then I realised exactly what it was, as I had seen something similar on a nature programme. A peregrine falcon!
Later at home I checked the silhouette against a reference book and it was definitely that and not a sparrow hawk which was the another possible candidate.

Throughout the afternoon the carp withdrew further into the weed bed and my only option was to risk all and cast further into the weed; this yielded only two successes, both of which ended with me reeling in masses of weed where the carp had pulled that ingenious trick of removing the hook, and attaching it to the largest amount of weed possible.

After a poor second half the score stood at Dan 2 points Snitterfield 1.

On the way back from the wilderness the radio revealed that yes, the England team had obviously heard that somewhere back in old Blighty a jaded supporter was so disheartened by their previous performances that he had gone into exile. So upon hearing this they pulled their fingers out of their arses past their bulging wallets and bleeding well did the honourable thing and won in what was rumoured to be a convincing performance.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Living the dream on June 16th

It couldn't have been a more perfect morning for where we were heading on this the first day of the fishing season. As we walked through the woods laden with tackle, my step quickened by excitement to see the old estate lake again after leaving it wearing it's autumn colours late last year. My eagerness had only been heightened by the fleeting glimpse I caught of it through the trees as we passed by only a short while ago.

She never disappoints

Some things we see as anglers are a real honour and seeing an estate lake with mist rolling off the hill side over it on June the sixteenth is a sight I have etched in my mind forever, and one I know that I will never tire of seeing as long as live.

There were patches of tench bubbles fizzing intermittently along the bank as some of the residents had an early morning feed. As I took a somewhat delicate Jeff for a early morning tour around the lake, pretty much every swim looked likely to contain fish. My original plan was to go for some points for the challenge but that was soon forgotten as the obvious signs of feeding Tench and the idea of  having a go on my all time favorite method, the lift float, crept into my head.

It was not long before I found myself staring through the mist at a red float top next to a patch of lily pads, eagerly awaiting the slightest ripple to emerge from the float to indicate the presence of a hungry Tinica.

This lake was once renowned for its tench fishing and attracted the anglers from miles around. I have even read a few things by Richard Walker were he makes mention of the lake and its numerous residents. But sadly now the hey day has long passed and like so many other estate lakes it finds itself in a different part of its life cycle to the tench stage. But! a small number of relatives of those fish that 'Dickie' once angled after still remain and those prepared to risk the dreaded blank and commit themselves to the cause, can still find one or two fish if in the right place at the right time.

Having fished this lake for a few years and having tried just about every possible way of catching these illusive fish, I have discovered that old methods are far more likely to score than new, and the same goes for baits.
Yes the odd Tench falls to the carp anglers whilst they attempt to catch a monster at range on boilies but as far as I am concerned corn, meat, bread and maggots have been much more successful for me in the past.

After sitting on my hands for the best part of a hour as I watched three distinctively separate fish mooch around, leaving a tail of fizzy bubbles every time they dipped to feed all within feet of my float. My chance was at hand as a ripple shot out in circle from the float. Something was close by, then a slight dip, then the money shot came as the peacock quill float lifted half way from the water then dropped onto its side before sliding away to be met by the strike. My first thought was that a marauding roach had crammed my two grains of corn in it's mouth as there was little resistance, but then it woke up and my fourteen foot power waggler rod was set to work as a tench powered away. With a patch of lilies on ether side of the swim and a second rods line dipping into the edge I tried to be as careful as I could with an angry tinica boring round the swim, but soon she was on the bank. My first fish of the new season a 4lb estate lake tench.

Does life get any better?

My second cast produced a bream around 2-3lb but the fuss caused by the previous tench had sent her companions back into the depths. Switching to a waggler set up I continued catching smaller fish hoping this normally roach filled lake might give me enough for a roach point, but strangely this year there seems to be a even split of roach and roach bream hybrids in the lake, so my roach point would have to wait for another day.
My hopes of some pike getting on the small fish shoals seemed a little ill founded too as not one single attacking splash was seen all day, which compared with last years whole sale slaughter by the pike on this day seemed rather perplexing to me. But on the other hand I have given up trying to predict how this lake will fish as the fishing itself is as changeable as the moods of the lake.

A half time break was in order and the suggestion of a pint and a pub lunch was welcomed by Jeff. A short drive later we were sitting in the beer garden of the Castle pub at edge hill awaiting a home made ham doorstep sandwich whilst enjoying a cold pint looking over the Warwickshire country side from this unusually high vantage point. Whilst on about it I would certainly recommend that should you pass by it is well worth going into this castle based pub. The home cooked food they serve is both reasonable and tasty, there is always good range of traditional beers available, and the view is unsurpassed for this part of the country.

After lunch we headed back to the lake for round two though I suspected the fishing would continue on the same vein. For my own part I must admit that my early morning was beginning to catch up with me and most of my afternoon was spent dozing behind the bite indicators and carp rods. Jeff on the other hand had spotted some carp drifting in and out of a bed of lillies and was determined to bag one, which he did not long after getting back onto his jungle like peg; a nice mirror of 12lb sadly with some serious mouth damage caused by what looked like a trailing hook link, which judging by the sores on it's sides had probably been torn out during spawning. But still I know several anglers who have been fishing seriously on this lake for years and not actually caught one yet so 'well done Jeff'. As the afternoon drifted away the old estate lake grew quieter with every passing moment and by 8pm the only thing that seemed to be moving was the local mozzie population. We could have stuck round until last light but both Jeff an myself got the feeling that the fishing was not about to suddenly improve and reached the unanimous decision to drag our weary bodies home.


Monday, 21 June 2010

Bream grind

An opportunity for mid week session gave me the chance to head down to jubilee pools with bream in mind. It's not a venue I have fished a lot and before going I tapped up Keith and Andy for the low down on the bream fishing. Amazingly both suggestions were exactly the same 'cage feeder filled with fish meal ground bait fished at 30 yards'. Now I know the bream in jubilee regularly get caught by carp anglers and have been caught in the past up to 8lb+; I also know that jubilee contains a good head of small to medium sized carp. With this in mind I thought banging a feeder full of fish meal ground bait on feeder rod in every ten minutes was only going to end in disaster. So instead I went for a heavy approach using large cage feeders on a paternoster with 2ft hook links of 6lb line, topped off with size 10 hook and hair rig, with the aim of fishing 10mm boilies on one line and three grains of corn on the other. Rather than trying to watch to quiver tips I used two specimen rods combined with indicators detect the bites.

After setting up half way down the lake in a peg normally coveted by carp anglers I began my attack by first clipping up one rod at 30 yards then casting out fifteen feeders of pellet and corn laced ground bait. I was hoping to bag four or five good bream and get the point the easy way but my first bite produced a fish only 1.5lb. A pattern soon formed as four more fish up to two pounds followed the first.

At mid morning I got my first run in with a carp as the buzzer went mad and for the first time line stripped from the bait runner. My beefed up bream rig coped perfectly and after several spirited runs a 8lb common was netted. Though after taking this photo myself and quickly releasing the fish I looked back as I often do to find it looked like some unseen alien space ship was trying to abduct both of us.


Don't go into the light!

Finally as I was trying to eat my leftover lasagna dinner I was disturbed by a bite which turned out to be better bream of 3.5lb. 

Getting Bigger

After this fish the roach moved in and began pecking at the corn baits before they even settled. Sometimes in the dead of winter roach can be little buggers that will only eat a specific bait in a certain way but today it turned out they had quite a fancy for three grains of corn attached to a size 10 hook, and four roach around 10-12oz hooked themselves up as they darted of with my bait.

With the roach brassing me off I decided to reorganize my kit and re bait the swim to try and attract the bream back in.

A bit of organization goes a long way

In early afternoon the wind changed direction and at first I thought I had detected the pungent aroma of the on site lavvi being pumped out but sadly I was wrong, and whilst on top of the bank giving Keith a status update I spotted a bloated carp bobbing in a fallen tree down the bank. There is nothing more unpleasant than getting a nose full of rotting carp every time the wind blows and by mid afternoon  I was considering risking moving just to get away from it.

Mr stinky

A late run of bream between three and four pounds pushed me over the record weight to bag the bream point and as I packed up, pulling my normal trick of leaving my rods out till the last possible moment, my boilie rod sparked into life. With everything packed away I hastily snapped this nobbly brama and quickly weighed it at just under five pounds.

Just five more minutes for five more pounds

The total now was comfortable 25lb of bream, though if I am honest a task which I at first thought was going to be no problem turned out to be quite a grind. Something I will say is that with the amount of bream in jubilee - some of which are already quite sizeable - and the large amount of bait the regular carp anglers are putting in,  the bream in this lake should increase in size relatively quickly, and in ten years time there could be some truly massive fish residing in this lake

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Return to the lagoon.

The only fishing action I had got all week was a prospective canal carp session on new bit of canal with Andy on Thursday evening, which produced not so much a sniff from a carp and thoroughly reinforced my theory that you really have to know the location before you try and catch them otherwise your just pissing in the wind.

My session for the weekend had been organized for a week or so. To join my friend Neil and his daughter for her first fishing trip to an old haunt of ours 'Lannys lagoon'. Some years ago I spent a huge amount of  time fishing both lakes and as a result got a very good idea of how to fish these secluded lakes. Sadly Neil had to call off but I still went because I was confident of a point or even two for the challenge.

With my pole dusted off and the top kits re elasticated I felt confident that my pole fishing days of yesteryear would come flooding back. Which they did after two hours of me slapping the pole into trees and the water.
I cupped in a mix of liquidised bread, fishmeal  ground bait and good sprinkling of pinkies onto one long line and an inside line as well. The only real problem that arose with my adventure back into the world of pole fishing was my lack of a pole roller, which I begrudge wasting money on since  I would hardly ever use it. I however overcame this problem with a clever use of other tackle. I took two small bank sticks with the carp style grip heads and put a third longer rest into the tight fitting heads then attached my unhooking mat over the top which worked like a dream, though a couple of other anglers seemed a little confused when they saw me putting it together.

As I suspected the float never even settled for more than a few seconds before dipping under.This went on all morning as a steady stream of roach, roach/bream hybrids, Rudd, Roach/Rudd hybrids, Skimmers, Bream, micro Carp, f1's, Crucian hybrids and best of all, goldfish were landed. At dinner time I ran out of bait and pulled the bulging net from the  water. 19lb not counting the ounces of goldfish topped by a extremely thick 3lb+ example gave one point. 9lb's of Crucian hybrids would be another if I didn't lack confidence in their linage (I am not claiming that point lads!) The only other point was again the Rudd and the total weight overall was 57lb.

After taking a wander round the other lake before I left I found a large group of carp feeding on the surface under a large mat of scum collected in one corner of the lake. Unable to resist I lugged all my gear back to the car and walked back with a single rod, landing net and few other bits of gear to have a crack at them.

Two hours of non stop action produced eight carp from 4-12lb before the rain came in at which point they all sank out of sight. Though for two hours work 49lbs of carp punched me over the 100lb mark for the day.

If only it would have lasted two more hours I would have had the carp point in the bag too......

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

What a difference a week makes.

Still determined to get some crucian action before the season starts I went back to snitterfield pretty much exactly one week after my last visit. Though the place could not have been more different. Gone was the clear skies and early morning sun, replaced by cloudy speckled skies and a stiff breeze. The night before I had messaged Andy to see if he fancied a trip out and when I arrived to a busy snit he was already set up on the windward end of the lake. Leaning out of my car window bidding him good morning Andy told me he had already seen a few crucians topping in the area. With the car stowed I walked back to fish a swim I have never fished but had heard it can be a quite good.

Again I went with the long rod and pole float combination, whilst a short zig was placed into the margin for good luck (lucky it was not.) After putting a few small balls of pellet laced ground bait tight to a over hanging tree I cast a tiny blob of paste over it. I had purposely bought no maggots with me to prevent a repeat of last week. The stiff breeze was getting worse as the morning progressed and I had the horrible feeling that the ripple caused by this was working against my bait presentation. The crucians here can, like all other crucians I have ever encountered before, bite very shyly. So getting the right balance between being able to present the bait well enough for them to pick it up and being able to register those tiny bites can be very hard.

After an hour of sitting on my bait all I had to show for my efforts was a skimmer and a  couple of roach. The cloud breaking and the sun peeping through heralded a change and soon I began to see some tiny bubbles pop up over my bait., though my hopes were again soon dashed as with the warmth came stronger winds and the ripples became more like small waves.

I stuck it out as long as I could but with every gust of wind my confidence drained away. Walking round to chat with Andy I soon realised that a little way up the bank  the wind was alot less vigorous, so a move was in order. Five minutes chatting to Andy who was fishing the pole close in and I could see the difference a well dotted down float controlled by a short line made; as he was hitting bites my crude set up would never even register. After moving to a swim up the bank I again baited with ground bait. But this time my pole float was kept on a very short line directly under the rod tip. Sadly it made little difference. The bites were so shy even from the roach population who had last week plagued me. I did bag another better roach and bump of a couple of fish but sadly my lack of finesse today had let me down.

Once we had both had enough I went over to see what short of a catch Andy had amassed whilst I had been staring at my float. An impressive hall of roach, hybrids, perch, bream and a single crucian lay in the bottom of his net.  When asked it turned out that none of the other anglers fishing today had fared much better than me so Andy's slick pole tactics put him at the top of the pile on a all round poor day.

So it would seem that this self confessed lead chucker will have to delve deep into his shed and search out my dust covered pole and make up some more refined rigs if I am to really get the best from this lake.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Nearly a birthday blank

Last week whilst trying to organise a night out with my brothers and father I was chatting happily away on the phone suggesting that we all go out on Tuesday night when Jacky reminded me that the night in question in fact was my birthday. Now you know you're getting older when you begin to forget your own birthday! Shortly after this Jacky then asked me what I wanted for said birthday, to which I replied "I want to go fishing and not to work" her answer to this was simply "well book the day off and go". So Tuesday I was living the dream, a day off work to go fishing and even a early lift there from my beloved.

As some of the readers of this blog who also fish at Ryton they will know that as the warmer months progress the weed in Ryton's clear water blooms and the fishing can become rather limited due to this. But when I arrived early on Tuesday I got a proper shock! In the shallow bay where only a month or so ago you could freely cast anywhere the weed was now only inch's beneath the surface and the rest of the lake was not far behind it, thus limiting  the fishing to the clear areas on the road side.

To my surprise I found a group of carp moving on the surface only a few rod lengths of a peg. Now I have never before dared to cast a floating bait into Ryton largely due to the masses of water birds but this was a opportunity not be missed. After stowing my gear at the top of the bank I crept into position with just my net and a single rod in hand. The fish were close enough in to cast a free lined bait to them. After landing the bait within a few feet I waited, but even when they passed right under it they seemed totally oblivious to it. After watching them swim around and around for about twenty minutes I knew they weren't that interested as they seemed to have other things on there minds. I heard through the grapevine that they had spawned the previous week, but the behavior seemed to indicate that they were still feeling a little fruity as two or three fish intently followed a single lead fish sniffing it's arse.

I gave up with my chance encounter and went back to my original plan to get onto one of the clear pegs and put down a good bed of flavored hemp and wait to try and intercept any patrolling tinicas.
It was a very slow day all round from what I could see and whilst standing on top of the high rod bank fish spotting on of my rods roared off and abruptly stopped before I could strike. After re baiting the offending rod it was cast out again and two minutes later the same happened again. this time the strike contacted with a fish for about a second before it fell slack. After repeating the baiting and recast for a third time I waited hovering of the rod. And yes it did go again resulting in a spirited fight from this nice 4lb female.

After this all went quite so I went off for a wander around the lake with the Polaroids to see if I could spot anything. I saw plenty of tench as I crept round the lake but like the carp their behavior seemed strange!
They were all swimming in twos or threes moving quite quickly very near the edge. What it was they were doing is any ones guess as I am not sure if the tench have spawned or not yet this year and as yet I haven't seen any spawn filled fish amongst any catches by myself or others who fish Ryton. 

Another interesting thing I saw through the clear water was two perch both of around a pound who came wandering into my swim as I waited for a bite. They swam in side by side and both stopped simultaneously  when they spotted some maggots that had dropped in the edge whilst I baited up. Immediately there dorsal fins went up and the slowly cruised up to each maggot and pounced on it. Intrigued by this little scene I scrated whatever maggots I could find left over in the bucket. As flicked each one into the water they slowly sank until they appeared in the line of sight of these two predators, where they would both dart towards the doomed wriggler. Not one single maggot made it to the bottom until a shoal of much smaller perch drifted up out of the darker water. When this happened I was even more surprised to see both the two larger perch take up a position between the spot where I was feeding and the shoal of competitors. The smaller perch who were much greater in numbers were instantly deterred by the two larger fishes offensive and quickly skulked back into the dark. Both remained in situe till I left even though the supply of maggots dried up hours ago. It was if they had found some sacred feeding area and weren't about to give it up any time soon.