Sunday, 29 May 2011

I forgot about those fussy fizzers.

I totally forgot to post this little snippet before I chipped off on holiday to Suffolk for a week. I did consider not posting it as I have a beast of a blog brewing right now, a blog log if you would.  But as I typed it it would only go to waste should I click on that delete option so here it is.
For the last two something weeks my attentions regarding fishing have been solely dedicated to my most favourite of fish, the tench. But alas the winds are about to change, for a week at least as I head to face off once again with the north sea and undoubtedly its ever present population of whiting which have over my last few trips done there damn best to eat everything I chuck into the brine in search of bigger fish.

I still had bait left over from the weekend and also a half day holiday to spare so a mid-weeker on ryton pool was in order. Andy also fancied it so Wednesday pm we hooked up tried to winkle a few out.
Last time I was here the tench were really on the feed in a big way, but what a difference a few weeks makes.
The fish were in the mood and seemingly feeding throughout the afternoon I watched patches of fizz rise all around my rigs as the culprits avoided my hook baits like the plague.

I did scratch one tiny pound plus tinica off my first spot but the bigger ones were being very careful. We eventually moved to the back of the wind to see if they had all pushed into one area. There didn't seem to be any visible signs of feeding fish as we sat in the sun but the spot was rather comfortable out of the wind.

Andy at one with nature.

After only fifteen minutes one of my rods ripped off and another small tench was landed which Andy followed up with another.

A pattern was emerging. All the fish we were getting seemed to be of a similar year class; young, clean and green, and all the bigger fish seemed to know what to eat and what not to eat. Later we moved back to our original spots only to find the tench turning the water into a giant bubble bath. We spent a good two hours almost watching them scoffing freebies and leaving our baits well alone.

It turned out to be a frustrating session and we both agreed that maybe light float outfits fished with red magics or caster would have certainly tripped some better fish up. Anyways, we both got a couple of nice little tench on a warm evening and those little minters look like they are packing the weight on quickly, so in few years time they will be some fantastic fish. As for me the coarse gear is packed away and the sea kit is out ready to go and in only few days I will be thwacking 5oz leads into the surf in the hope that a decent bass may find my bait.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Sniffing out new water.

This past week I managed to get in two sessions on a new water. For a few of my angling/blogging buddies it is a regular venue on their yearly schedule of lakes, with others recently joining them. It is however totally new to me.

I agreed to meet up with Keith on Thursday for my first foray into the unknown. I arrived quite a lot earlier than Keith after chipping off work early with the express intention of having a good look round and tapping up the locals for any inside info.

My first sight of the lake confirmed I had vastly overestimated the size of it, but the gin clear water and clean gravel that could been seen from the edge made it look rather nice. I did speak to a few natives and it seemed as I heard before that some accurate spodding was order of the day.

When Keith arrived I opted to fish  an adjacent peg to him as during the few hours I'd spent exploring, peeping and generally grubbing around the lake I hadn't seen a single sign of fish.
I started by banging out 15-20 large feeders of ground bait onto a deepish area with a nice clean bottom  then put a feeder rig baited with a few grains of corn on top. My second rod was rigged up with a method feeder rid and cast into the margins.

Over the next few hours my rods remained absolutely silent and I never even got the slightest indication of any fish moving over my carpet of bait. Eventually I spotted a couple of feeding patches that betrayed the subsurface location of at least two tench. It didn't take a few seconds for me to cast the method ball into the area. With still no reaction to my baits I was round in Keith's swim chatting away when the rod hoofed off like a it was attached to wild animal. By the time I had the rod in hand the fish had moved maybe thirty metres form the left to right and was not far off a nasty snag in the margins. Locking down the clutch I turned it back into open water and managed to get it into the side towards the waiting net manned by Keith. A large green side was all I saw as it rolled on the surface and snapped my hook link. Keith did the sensible thing and disappeared off to his own swim and left me cursing myself for not letting that clutch back off.

Later I had a second run which was dropped, and as evening closed in on my third screaming run off the night I made contact with a second,  allbeit smaller fish, which turned out to be another tench which also came off in the edge.

I never expect to do really well on a new lake especially one like this with clear water and a natural population of fish which probably have no reason to ever eat an anglers bait, but this session had given me a glimpse into how the fish feed. To be honest I reckon that all the disturbance I caused whacking in loads of bait was probably detrimental to the fishing and searching them out with small parcels of bait worked much better.
I know for sure that the rods I brought along were far to heavy for the job in hand at 2 1/4lb. But I had convinced myself that I would be throwing large feeders long distances all night and the lack of give in those rods were directly to blame for the lost fish.

Two days later I went back with Andy to have another go this time opting for a couple of swims in a wooded area of the lake. We had arrived very early and there seemed to be signs of life in front of us. This time two method feeders went in. My hope was to try and pick off a fish here and there using the softly softly approach. If you can call method feeders softly that is. 

My swim never sparked into life at all but Andy's on the other hand seemed to get regular visits from moving fish and in no time he had banked some very nice tench.
I was starting to wonder why my almost identical baits which were not that far off Andy's were receiving no attention at all. I decided to go off and have have a mooch up the bank in the area I had fished only a few nights before. Upon arriving I spotted Lee on the opposite bank and also two or three patches of tench fizz in the area id fished before. It was a no brainer and soon enough I found myself set up in the swim. For the next couple of hours I sat and watched the feeding fish move off round the corner ignoring my baits as they did.

I received news that Andy was still on the fish and made that difficult decision to move back to the swim which had produced nothing before, but I knew there were at least fish in the area.
It's not easy to stand watching as your mate mullers the lake whilst your rods sit idle close by, but as I did Lee turned up and reported nothing more than two liners/dropped runs as well as two other experienced anglers suffering the seeming same fate.

Finally whilst I stood nattering my right hand rod ripped off as a feisty male tench made it's bid for freedom.
The lighter rod I had brought this time performed admirably in subduing the savage diving runs and lee slipped the net under a perfect 4.4lb male tench.

Check the fins on that!

At last I had landed one! Not the biggest tench in the lake but a pretty damn perfect one as far as I am concerned. Whilst  we were fishing I began to suspect that the fish that Andy was encountering were either moving along a specific route that didn't come as far up the bank as I was fishing or that they were following a bar which may have been a little further out in my swim. Ether way I did eventually get a run and I know for sure this lake will get a few more visits over the summer from this tench addict.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The Ryton Tench Troll.

It's strange how us anglers take some bits of tackle for granted. You know, the things that are always with you and work every time you need them to. So much so that they linger in our kit for years not causing one single problem. Then out of nowhere they go a bollock and you inevitably find yourself having real problems at the wrong time.

I knew we were in for a spot of the wet stuff Saturday and I also had begun to suspect my faithful 50'' fishing umbrella of seven years had some health issues. But as I was in denial over this fact and was convinced it still had a few more trips in it so I never bothered replacing it....

Ryton looked in fine fettle as I stood looking at the random patches of Tench fizz within a few rod lengths of the bank. As I watched the patches of bubbles they began to get joined up by spots of rain dimpling the water. First things first I'd get old reliable up for some shelter.

Ripping was the first sound that hit my ears as one of the arms pierced the top of the brolly, this was followed by a second one poking me about two inches under my left ear. Closer inspection revealed that the small bit of wire that held all the supports into the collar at the top of the brolly had somehow corroded over seven years of being stuffed back into my rod bag damp. 

Initially I was set up close to the waters edge only feet from my rods but as the rain got heavier my unsupported brolly began to sag lower and lower leaving me practically curled in a ball around the pole.
The situation got ultimately worse when a gust of wind reversed the flapping umbrella in a rather comical style. I really would have laughed but as it went I made a grab for it and two of my fingers got trapped in the mass of wire; with the gusting wind pressuring the mess I was at serious risk of losing a digit.

I some how saved the shelter and moved the kit and caboodle to the top of the high bank into the lea of bush. This is where it got really Heath Robinson. The shelter could just about support itself albeit at a rather peculiar angle but the slightest breeze nearly flipped it so I began ramming spare bank sticks into the ground and tying them on with the only cord I had which turned out to be hook link material. Expensive hook link material!
The only thing that was now needed was tension and my weighty back pack slung under the arm supports pulled that on a treat.

From the front it looked ok but from behind it looked for all the world like just the top part of the umbrella lying flush the ground. All day passing kids called out "is there someone under there " and then my head would pop out like some kind of Troll from its hidey hole and bellow "yeeeeees"

All that aside this fishing was great and intermittently through the day pods of tench moved over my bait and after intitial indications a screaming run would smack the bobbin into the buzzer as a unsuspecting fish fled panicked by the prick of my hook.

The First fish was a solid 5.6lb

The next good fish was 5lb on the nose. And the third five of the Day was 5.3lb

I did land two others that looked between 2-4lb which I didn't bother to photo or weigh. Add to those the three free which came adrift during the fight and the multitude of pick ups and bleeps and it turned out to be a testing but very productive day for this Ryton tench troll.

The worst was still to come when I packed up. All the rest of the kit was packed away as quickly as it come out apart from, yes you guessed it, the brolly! Upon taking it down arms went in every conceivable direction just as the wind again picked up. Frankly I was in no mood to trifle with this unwieldy beast and soon enough I was on the verge of a proper mantrum. Just as I was about to get to that point we all know we can get to where we just destroy the offending article and lob it bush wards I stopped walked away took a minute then like some kind of puzzle it just folded neatly, with several arms sticking through the material at the top.

Note to self : Buy a new Umbrella you stingy bugger!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

God save the bream.

The first of our two bank holiday bonanza weekends I gave up to pull a real changing room job on our kitchen which has been top of my big job list since we moved into a our current home. Four days of initial  trashing and ripping followed by tender hammering and sawing and Jacky was over the moon with our sparkling new modern kitchen, which left me free the following weekend to get some fishing in.

My first trip was something I have had brewing away for a while: eels! I am sure they are present in the canal stretch we have been targeting for perch this year, so Thursday evening after work I charged home to grab my gear and headed down there to fish until morning.

Andy joined me in search of bream, and after a while another couple of lads he knows turned up out of the blue with an idea to target the local bream population themselves. This was something I wanted to keep away from so I set up a little down the canal within sight of them.

Determined to avoid both perch and bream I was cautious to try and keep off  known feeding areas of both species. I cast out one rod baited with bunch of lob worms and second baited with a small dead roach.
Intermittently through the evening my worm rod received unwelcome attentions as a shoal of bream passed near the area and finally the bobbin slowly and erratically rose as a decent but spawning battered bream of 4.4lb made off with the worms.

As the night  wore on I did get some very interesting touches here and there and around 10.30pm I got what I am sure was my only run from an eel. With no warning at all the indicator on my roach line sounded with a slow and constant run which went on for a good while as I waited to confirm a run and not a liner. Sadly my strike pulled the bait clean out of the mouth of the culprit. After this the temp dropped badly along with my confidence and I could stand it no longer it was time for home.

Friday I could have gone fishing but I felt it important to actually watch the royal wedding as it ain't that often our future king gets married. So rather than head off into the country side I spent the morning like the few billion people around the world sitting on the sofa watching TV. 

My next session was to investigate the canal Sunday morning with Jeff for the illusive silver bream which inhabit one particular area at this time of year. The wind by Sunday had really begun to blow and as a result the only fish that seemed present in the area we fished were the ever hungry hoards of mini perch. No matter where I cast my baits one of the little buggers would root it out. I only encountered one fish that was not a little perch and my hopes of a silver bream were dashed when the small silver fish turned out to be a roach bream hybrid.

We ended up moving to a more sedate area were the fishing was a little more comfortable and sat chatting about one of our favourite subjects, sea fishing; Jeff being an old hand hand and myself a novice due to go for a week long session in a few weeks time.

The final trip of the weekend was one I had in mind for a few weeks: back to Snitterfield. My original plan was to do some surface fishing for grass carp but on the way there in the afternoon I began to question my sanity as I pulled on the elevated road that leads to snitters and the true force of the wind hit me.

Being located on a orchard clad hill side this open lake can be the worst place in Warwickshire on the wrong day and this was one of them. Before fishing I took a walk around the lake to chat with some of the anglers already fishing. By all accounts it didn't seem to be fishing that well at all and the carp had not shown so much as a scale all day. So I opted for a change of plan and sought a quite sheltered corner to do some simple float fishing out of the wind.

My decision to change tack and use up my left over bait leftover from the weekend was the best decision I have made in a long time...

Fishing a 14ft waggler rod with my vintage centre pin and a light float rig only a foot off the rod tip the bites were instant. Most of the lakes resident roach seemed to be tight against the bank under the howling wind and after no less than twenty roach all between 10oz and a pound I was really chuffed. 

 An average roach.

I even switched to bread to try and root out some bigger roach but this resulted in me landing three bream on the trot of about 2-3lb. 

Three hours of constantly feeding maggots and my bait was seriously diminished so I began throwing a few pellets in for good measure which prompted the best surprise of the day as far as I am concerned. A timid sliding bite resulted in what at first looked like a small perch, but in hand I was confronted with the first of five micro tench which could not resist the soft pellets.

They don't get any cuter than this!

The sport continued right up until the sun set and on all but my last cast I hooked into what I thought was a big roach until it began surging up and down in the water. My first snit crucian of 2011 was soon in the net at 1.6lb.

I really enjoyed just fishing for whatever came along and not targeting anything specific on this occasion and have found a renewed joy for the singing sound that the centre pin's racket makes as a fish powers off on light tackle. All too often I fish using heavy gear to target bigger fish, so much so I have forgotten how much fun it is to use really light gear and classical methods.