Time Out

Today started off really well.

I picked up a new rod this morning and was keen to test it out and get back on the deadbaiting, having had a taste for pike yesterday. I pitched up around mid day on the opposite-to-usual side of the lake as it was drizzly and cold and I wanted some cover.

My new rod is slightly longer at 11ft, with a bit of a stiffer action but it performed really well, netting me two nice 2lb plus perch in the first hour as well as a little friend that I haven’t seen since last year, a gudgeon. I also picked up an 8lb ish and 6lb ish common. I didn’t have my scales today so I couldn’t give you more accurate weights, but sadly weights are the last thing on my mind this evening. I’ll explain.

I popped a deadbait into the margin having seen a lot of non-carp like swirling earlier and fry throwing themselves out of the water. Thinking it was a pike, I lowered the bait into the swim gingerly and went back to my seat to lie the rod in the rest. As soon as I sat down the bubble float disappeard and I struck into a fish which certainly felt like a pike.

It wasn’t. It was easily the largest perch I’ve ever caught. Dare I say it well over 4lbs.

Why so sad? One of the sets of barbless trebles had hooked the rakers and literally snapped one of them off. I was distraught. The perch had clearly inhaled the whole roach and striking had damaged it. I have a photo, I’m not going to post it. It’s upsetting me too much. The irony of it all is that I’d just netted a 1.5lb ish fish and had it recovering when I landed it and I have a comparison photo. I’m not joking, this thing was huge and short of this bloody mess I’d be the happiest man alive right now.

Anyway, I unhooked the fish with some difficulty¬† and removed the broken raker from its thoat. It swam away, I didn’t see it surface again.

All sorts going on in my head right now. Hopefully I’ll pull myself together and be back at it soon.

Matt.

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First (landed) pike of the season

Nipped to the lake for a very short lure session this evening, arriving around 4:30 with an overcast sky and darkness looming.

I wasn’t at all prepared, having grabbed a small box of lures without checking for suitability and having no white or silvery plugs or softbaits. With the water being pretty murky and having a (human) visibility of no more than a few inches I was going to have to improvise.

I picked the right side of the lake for two reasons. Firstly I knew it held fish, both pike and perch and secondly because a small group of three other lure anglers were hurdling each other up the left hand side.

I popped on a rattling jointed orange Rapala to start and had nothing, so switched to a bright yellow and red Relax Kopyto 3″ shad which was equally unsuccessful. Then there was a small break in the cloud, so I put on a Fox Firetiger 2″ shad and began working it across the pegs close in. It wasn’t long before I had a take under my boots and on my favourite peg too…

… and so a beautifully conditioned 3.5lb (ish) pike came willingly to the net.

That was about the extent of my luck for this evening. By 5:30 it was getting too dark to fish so I headed home. I walked around the other side of the lake to ask the other guys if they’d had better success and sadly they hadn’t, though one picked up a tiny jack on a red and white shallow diver as we were chatting.

Wet nets.

Popped down for pike…

… and picked up a few perch.

1.2lb and 2.4lb today both on the feeder on lob. Pellet waggler died unfortunately but wanted a shorter margin rod anyway so, thanks fate, I guess!

Just a tiddler…
That’s much better…

Deadbait float rigged roach produced a few runs from jacks but nothing big enough to get itself hooked. Will be downsizing to size 8 trebles next trip as I’m sure some big perch were lunging for the deadbaits.

Just a quicky today as I’m at work (joy).

Wet nets.

Why?

I fish because my grandfather did. It’s a simple and honest statement and one that many who come from a family of fishing folk will be able to relate to.

He was a man of few words, and even fewer expressed emotions. If he spoke his words were considered, measured and not uttered lightly. Small talk was not a part of his repertoire. A miner by profession and a gardener of some repute, his singular drive was provision and the pleasure that providing brought. Whether it be cod, coal or cabbage, he made sure that he was keeping us fed, warm or both. Towards the end of his life, 14 years ago this month, it became clear to me just how much that drive kept him alive. Once immobile he went downhill rapidly both mentally and physically, speaking and moving less in equal measure. Having said that, he managed to retain his dry sense of humour until the end, his last words being “You thought I’d gone then, didn’t you?”, after having been revived for the last time.

He never frowned upon my coarse fishing, but I always caught a glint of proudness in his eyes when I brought home a trout from the river or whiting from the beach. He was primarily a boat angler, always fishing for the table though he evidently got pleasure from it. He was very fond of one particular charter out of Solva in west Wales and this was one of his regular trips with the local deep sea angling club. I still have his diaries listing dates and catches back to the early 70s.

Amazingly I only ever managed to fish with him once. He was strangely private about it. It was his ‘thing’ and I can relate to that, although I do try and encourage my children to come with me. I can remember nagging him to join me at a local mark shortly after I’d passed my my driving test. My step father came along also. We pitched up at the roadside on a local estuary and spent the day catching whiting and small flatties. It was handy for him as he could sit in the car and watch his rod, a bright green, glass fibre Sealy with about as much flexibility as a lamp post which now lives on the shed wall. He still caught though and had a good day.

Looking back, I realise now that fishing allowed me to emulate him and in doing so cement our relationship. Despite being very close, I always felt that I wanted him to let me in more, and fishing talk did just that. I remember being 7 or 8, lying on the living room floor with one of his books and asking if he’d ever caught each of the fish, one by one. “No, no, yes, no…”, his exasperation was evident but he always had a wry smile on his face, and so did I.

Wet nets.

Dirty Breams

It’s hard for me to gush about bream. I don’t target them and I certainly don’t like catching them. They’re lethargic, slimy and generally irritating. No doubt somebody loves them, though why escapes me.

I did, however smash my bream record today with a 3lb 3oz fish. Tiny by most people’s standards but it’s not theirs, it’s mine!

It all started at lunch time, with half a box of casters and very lethargic maggots and a few hours to kill. I knew there was a match on at the complex today, and I’d fully intended to stay away but boredom prompted me to use up the leftover bait.

I never fish the horseshoe lake as the perch are generally small, but go I did nonetheless. I picked a peg with structure and started by heavily baiting close in. The first few hours brought in around 30 small perch and roach, with the odd decent roach over half a pound now and again. Mostly though the fish were barely out of fry shorts. Oh, and an eel of course.

Relaxing and fun, but not particularly exciting. I decided to bait out a bit deeper around a rod length off the tip and was rewarded with the first and largest bream. It twitched forlornly once when hooked, then laid on its side and allowed me to unceremoniously drag it in, mouth open and gazing blankly at the sky. I almost felt sorry for it.

Shortly after this I began to run low on maggots, so I popped a can of corn and continued to feed the same spot picking up seven more bream between 2 and 3lb.

Certainly a different day, but yeah, sorry bream, won’t be back if I can help it!

Wet nets.

A roach, a perch and half a pike

No time for all the gear, no idea today. One birthday party to taxi for and another one going away for the weekend tonight. I decided to try and winkle out a few perch from the abandoned locks at the local canal instead, for an hour.

Now they say you should never revisit places you fished as a kid as you’ll come away disappointed… and they’re not wrong. The locks were choked with rubbish and weed and the surrounding stretches of canal were silted almost to the roof.

There were fish about though. I’d caught them before, last year in fact, but the canal at least in this area seems to have taken a header. It’s pretty shameful that you’re charged to fish here and doubly so considering the area is supposed to have been ‘regenerated’.

I made one pass down the locks, bombing through the duckweed with a relax Kopyto shad. Just a small 2″ silver one. No takes.

There’s a jig in there somewhere…

I saw some roach rising in one of the turning ponds and, conscious that I only had an hour I decided to pop the only float I’d brought on and try and get a maggot in a weedless spot. Sadly the roach were super wary and small but I did pick up this one on the drop.

By now time was getting on so I popped the little knobbly shad on that I found a week or so ago and tried bombing through the duckweed again with better results.

Just a small one but a perch all the same!

Before I left I thought I’d topwater a shad across the turning pool above the weed. First cast I spotted a pike of around 5lb following, so I threw it again and after 2 misses he picked it up. Sadly when I got him to the bank he bit me off.

Bye lure. Bye pike. Had fun though.

Wet nets.

Worms, I take it all back

Having dug the borders out this morning and collected a fair amount of lobworm, I thought it would be rude not to use them…plus I wanted to check I still knew how to fish with them, having had poor luck recently.

I got to the lake amidst drizzly and misty conditions around 12:30pm. Thankfully it was fairly warm, but not particularly being fond of wet weather I headed up the ‘wrong’ side of the doughnut lake to peg 12 where a large tree offers some cover.

I took everything, but only ended up using the float rod as I had half a pint of mixed red and white that I wanted to use up. I fed maggots tight to the lilies on the left of the swim and baited up with a whole lob, then downsized to double tails or double reds as the small bites became irritating. I soon started picking up small F1s and roach.

No perch showed themselves all day, but about 2:00pm I had a smashing bite which ran headlong for the lilies and promptly tied itself up. I waited for a few minutes for it to swim out and commenced playing it properly for all of 5 minutes. It gave me a hell of a run.

In the net she was just under 9lb, having snaffled a whole lob.

Nothing much special for the rest of the session other than a common of around 3lb, more roach and an eel. I packed in around 3:30pm.

An enjoyable few hours nevertheless, even if it was a damp one.

Wet nets.