Friday, 31 May 2013

Back in the game

 Every angler at some point has to endure a lean spell and with three blanks in a row I hope that today was the end of mine. In my opinion it has been the weather's fault, every recent day off has seemed to coincide with a drop in temperature, the fish must be loathing it as much as I am. This week however has seen a steady increase of several degrees and the fish seemed to have responded. Today Carp could be seen cruising the warm upper layers, a shoal of Roach 'pimpled' the surface as they sipped the substantial hatch of flies and occasionally they would scatter as the Pike charged at them. It all made for an interesting sideshow but I had set my sights on landing some big Tench.
I employed my usual tactics of worm and feeder and I started the session with high hopes. I tried to remain optimistic but as the hours ticked by my confidence began to wain. However just after lunchtime a stuttering bite turned into a run and it was fish on. The fight was fairly nondescript until the fish saw the net and then it went ballistic. I could see in the crystal clear water that it was a decent fish which did nothing for my nerves. I reeled it back within range only for it to set off on another run taking my other line with it. Eventually I bundled it into the net and my poor run of results came to an end.

It wasn't a monster at 7lb 6oz but it was most welcome.

She swam off strongly and soon after I added a feisty little male of 4lb 11oz. That was the last of the action for this particular session but hopefully the fish will really get on the feed as they should at this time of year.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Frustrating Carp blank

This was my view for the evening, perched low behind the reeds in the only sheltered part of the pond whilst the wind ripped across the rest of the water. It was for too breezy for floater fishing on the top especially with a fly rod but if fishing wasn't a constant challenge we would soon stop coming back for more. I had a rare (of late) opportunity for a couple of hours waterside and I was not about to pass it up.
As the sun started to drop below the horizon I finally managed to get a few Carp feeding just beyond the lilly pads. The temperature dropped beyond comfortable but I stuck it out in hope that just one fish would take the fly but alas it was not to be. They sporadically took the freebies but avoided the bait, the view was nice though.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Gravel Pit Tenching

It's that time of year when my obsession with catching a double figure Tench begins again. For the last few years my efforts have centred around the Linear complex, mostly on Hardwick Smiths lake, not because it gave me the best chance but because it is the least heavily fished so fairly peaceful. However this year I have decided to target a different water, well a change is as good as a rest.
My feeling is it's a little too early in the year for the really big Tench, the few weeks before spawning giving the best chance(of a double) which this year will probably be late June due to the long cold Winter. Today I used my usual worm based approach.
It took a couple of hours before I had the first indications and the bite developed into a 4lb 7oz male in the net. A pleasing start to a campaign on a new venue but I would have preferred a big fat female, lady Tench are always bigger than their scrappy boyfriends.
It didn't take long before I was in again, another good scrap and another petulant male on the bank, this time 4lb 3oz, they were getting smaller.
The next run saw me strike into something altogether different. The fight was more sluggish, it felt heavier and I began to think I had hooked either a cracking Tench or a small Carp. Imagine my surprise when it suddenly tail walked across the swim. It turned out to be an angry Pike and a pretty good one at that. "There's no way I am going to land this" I thought to myself, either the 8lb line would break or be bitten through at any moment. I took my time, let it take line when it wanted to run and ever so gradually I coaxed it closer and closer. It tangled my other rods leading me a merry song and dance but eventually I bundled it into the net. Luckily the hook was well lodged in the scissors away from those razor sharp gnashers. Good skill and good fortune in equal abundance.
13lb exactly
Within minutes of putting her back I was in again, this time the target species but yet another male, this time 4lb 12oz.

Another hour later I caught, yes you guessed it,  another male but this one was the biggest so far at 5lb 9oz.

I must have been casting into a Gentleman's only club for Tench, boys 4 girls nil. That was the last of the action for the day.
Mid afternoon there was a tremendous storm, thankfully I had my day shelter with me and I sat nice and dry sniggering at the anglers opposite getting a right soaking.
The last laugh was on me though as a huge gust of wind lifted my brolly up and away down the bank and I ended up dripping wet as well. Serves me right I suppose!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Doing my bit for Angling's Future

The Chatts family

The kids have been bugging me about going fishing for ages so this weekend I came good on my promise. The weather forecast was superb so we headed to a local pond stuffed full of Roach, Rudd and a few Carp. The plan centred around a pellet waggler approach. Watching a float gently bobbing up and down before flying under and then a strike being met by a bucking writhing fish fighting for freedom is a memory treasured by thousands of anglers thinking of their first fish. Maisie has caught before but this was Max's first trip, I hope he remembers it forever but he is probably a bit too young.
The fishing wasn't as easy as I had hoped but by keeping up the regular feeding the float eventually dipped on Max's rod and he reeled in a small Roach. At three years old he enjoyed the experience but I think he is too young to fully appreciate it. 

We carried on catching a few more silver fish but not quickly enough to keep the kids engrossed but at least both of them caught. 
There is a campsite close by and quite a few residents walk their dogs around this picturesque pool. On this day one particularly bigger lady ambled past with her two Golden retrievers. They got about five feet past where my wife was sitting when one of the dogs stopped to do it's business. Who walks their dogs without doggie bags in this day and age? Well this Chav did, she asked us for a bag which we did not have so she kicked it into the bushes! My pregnant wife's sense of smell is particularly heightened at the moment so we were forced to move swims away from the stench. 
Further round the pond we spotted some Carp cruising the surface about the lilies so I catapulted out some mixers and set up a suitable floater rig. Within a couple of minutes the fish showed interest and it didn't take long before I struck into one. The fish immediately motored off into the vegetation and there was not a lot I could do about it on light tackle. The vicious bend in the rod regained the kids interest away from annoying the tadpoles as they wanted to know what monster daddy was connected to. I was forced to passed the rod around a couple of trees to change the angle and by applying some steady pressure I managed to coax the Carp out of the lilies and into open water. Maisie fetched the net and Max the catapult, not sure what for!

I played it carefully, eventually winning the battle. 

Maisie was especially excited to see a big fish.

I then took the opportunity to teach the little ones how to look after a fish once caught: letting it rest in the net, unhooking mat, wetting everything etc. We weighed it, took photos and carefully returned it as quickly as possible.

9lb 13oz Common
On that high note we decided to call it a day. They both cannot wait to go again. I think the fresh air was too much for Max, he fell asleep mid ice cream!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Great wildlife, difficult fishing

Fishing time has been limited of late but last night I managed to sneak in a couple of hours so I grabbed my 8weight fly rod and headed down to the local Carp pool. I spent well over an hour flicking out dog biscuits trying to find the fish until eventually I came across a couple that showed only the slightest interest in the freebies. They took a few off the top but did not feed with any real conviction. I cast towards them but within ten minutes they had disappeared and my scant opportunity had all but gone. The cold water and long winter has made them lethargic but with a bit more prolonged good weather they will soon wake from their slumber. 


It was nice to be bankside again and the other wildlife on show made up for the lack of fish. I watched this bird of prey foraging along the river bank looking for small rodents. I think it is a male Kestral but will stand corrected if anyone knows better.

It was also quite special to see this pair of Muntjacs, they were skittish but hung around long enough for me to take a photo. I have seen these two before but never had a the opportunity to take their picture before.

Nice sunset