Sunday, 26 April 2015

Oh No! What have I Done?!

No proper plans were made this week, I had a nice lie-in and when I did eventually surface my eldest daughter Maisie decided that she would join me. We headed off into the Cotswolds to a different pool that I know from previous visits holds good quality Rudd and Roach and initially that was what we set our stall out for. Chopped worm deposited in the swim and a sensitive float deployed. 

Photo taken by Maisie!(8)

The sun burnt off the rest of the cloud and made for a pleasant end of morning. Whilst I had been baiting with worm I had also chucked some dog biscuits by the trees to see if the Carp were in the mood and in no time they were slurping away merrily on the freebies. We rigged up a floater rig and within minutes Maisie was playing her first proper Carp. Her enthusiasm had been waning due to the lack of action on the worm but was instantly reignited and with a bit of coaching from her Dad she landed a lean hard fighting Common. 

9lb 7oz
It lost a scale while in the net which she stuck in her lunch box to take home and show Mum. She wouldn't hold the fish herself as it was a bit lively on the bank but she did a sterling job on the other side of the camera, a natural methinks!
More dog biscuits were chucked out, another bite quickly followed and a slightly smaller Common was expertly brought to the net. With the clutch set properly and the anti-reverse on she can play these fish without any issues.

8lb 5oz
When she hooked a third fish I left her to it to take some action shots. 

This one was the smallest of the day and well behaved so she posed for a photo (after a bit of cajoling!).


Time was marching on now but we still had time for one more. It didn't take long and it was the first fish to take line from the reel. It fought hard but even a tired Maisie was up to the task and a few minutes later we slipped the net under a stunning Mirror. It's beauty was not lost on my girl but I would not let her take home one of it's 'apple-slice' scales as she requested. 

14lb 2oz
She did the honours with the camera and we both went home happy with our days work. Chatting on the way I asked her if she had enjoyed herself to which she replied "can we go Carp fishing every week Dad?"
What have I done?!!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

A Chip off the Old Block?

I hate this in between phase we seem to be in. When the sun shines it feels like Spring but when the wind blows it still feels 'Winterish'. The over night temperatures are low and the water temperature is still bloody cold. It has really hit my motivation (until Tench time) and with a 'not bothered what we catch' attitude I took my eldest Maisie to the closest commercial fishery and let her have a play. Sometimes it is great to go fishing with no pressure knowing we would definitely catch something and we weren't bothered what it was.

So with a few hours to spare and some worms left over from the previous Tench trip we headed down to Manor Farm and float fished our way through a Sunday lunchtime. Maisie fished the only rod, set up by Dad but every bite and subsequent fish was hers. I think she enjoyed it. I kept asking her if she wanted to go home but each time her response was in the negative and she ended the day with a reasonable bag of Silver Bream and Roach.

Best fish of the day was an 11oz Roach which she refused to hold as it kept 'flipping'.

I enjoyed Maisie catching fish as much as if I had caught them myself and the fact that she didn't want to go home and would rather have stayed and caught more made my day! A chip off the old block?- I hope so!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Too Early for Tench?

The recent spell of warm weather turned my thoughts to Tench, my favourite species to target in the Spring. I think I was a bit premature though. It takes a long time for a huge deep body of water like Hardwick gravel pit to rise in temperature and awaken from its Winter slumber and the crystal clear water was still very cold to the touch.

I worked hard all day but could not manage to generate a bite, the alarms staying silent apart from one line bite mid-afternoon. Give it a couple of weeks and those big Tench will be on the munch, filling up as much as they can before spawning time.
The wildlife was interesting though, I love watching funny looking tufties....

the Red-Crested Pochard

Friday, 10 April 2015

Lemington Lakes- Big Roach

The A44 was closed for roadworks so I found myself on a misty Cotswold country lane trying to find an alternative route to Lemington lakes. Thankfully my sense of direction did not let me down and I turned into the fishery only ten minutes late. Martin was busy chatting up the dragon lady owner so I got my ticket as quickly as I could and dragged him down to the lake. Target today was Roach, big Roach, hopefully two pounders plus, the ones this fishery is known for.
The only other time I have fished here it was absolutely freezing. The elevated position means that when there is a gentle breeze it feels like a gale and when there is a gale well, you lose your hat and anything else that is not tied down. Today however was a complete contrast, the sun eventually burnt off the mist and there was barely a ripple on the water. Perfect conditions for the angler if not for angling.
Martins approach was to pole fish worm whilst feeding chopped worm and have a 'sleeper' rod set up with a maggot feeder and a helicopter rig. Problem was it didn't 'sleep' for long as a succession of pasty Carp ran away with the maggots. After the umpteenth Carp messed him about he put it bed and just fished the pole. It was working a treat anyhow as he landed Bream to 4lb 6oz...

and Roach to 1lb 6oz, the biggest of the day....

not quite the size we were after but a nice fish all the same. Considering we were at a commercial fishery they were all in immaculate condition, a testament to the strict rules they impose. Not a mangled mouth, split fin or missing scale in sight.
The rest of his maggots were fed to the friendliest Chaffinch we have ever seen, coming right up to us to scrounge its dinner.

My tactics differed slightly to the big man in that I set up a pair of feeder rods, fishing chopped worm helicopter style. My thinking was that I wasn't fishing for lots of bites but bigger fish. I caught plenty including Perch, Rudd, Bream and Carp but not a single Roach until the very last minute when I finally landed one of about a pound.

To be honest I think I got it wrong on the day. There were plenty of missed bites which I am sure were from Roach and would have connected if I refine the approach with smaller hooks and bait, thinner line and a shorter hooklink. Next time I will certainly give that a try and see how it goes.

Another Red Kite spotted, they are definitely spreading further North.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Always Have Some Floaters

My intention was to fish for Perch but when I saw a whole load of Carp milling about the surface layers I couldn't resist a bit of floater fishing. I always keep a bucketful of flavoured dog mixers permanently in the back of the van for such occasions. Catching Carp off the top is high on the list of my favourite ways of fishing. It is visually thrilling seeing the fish slurp the hook bait, the split second delay before striking and then all hell breaking loose. There isn't much more exciting than that.

It didn't take long for a few of the Carp to notice the free food on offer and I kept a steady flow going in to build up their confidence while playing with the camera. A rogue garden pond pet even got in on the action but its eyesight wasn't too good, it amusingly balanced a biscuit on its nose better than my dog can!

There are no monsters in this pond but that isn't the point. I had a couple of hours spare and fancied a bit of fun and thankfully the fish were obliging. I like to keep my floater fishing simple, no glue or bands, either an imitation fly or a whittled down pop-up does the trick every time, size twelve hook, rig complete.

A brace of Carp were landed, biggest was probably a scraper double that gave me a proper battle on the light tackle I was using.