Merry Christmas

Just a quicky to wish everyone out there a very merry Christmas and new year.

I haven’t fished for a long time and it’s doubtful I’ll get much in now until February. Family time is important, especially at this time of year and given that I average 50hrs plus and two nights away per week at work, something has to give.

If you are braving the cold and snow in pursuit of a monster, I wish you luck.

Wet nets.

Matt.

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Quick Update

Not feeling it to the degree I’d like but I did pop out for an hour this afternoon just to see how it would go.

I had a deadbait rod out with some small smelt on a single hook and didn’t get anything more than a few taps and one run which backed off. I did however pick up a 5lb 1oz bream which is a new PB for me, as well as an assortment of small carp. All taken on maggot and float.

The bream gave no fight at all and seemed a little worse for wear but it swam off lethargically after a few minutes in the net. Clearly a very old fish with lots of scars. Strangely this was the only bream of the day, but a welcome surprise.

Wet nets.

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.

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.

Monday’s a no-go

So this morning it was. Just a few chucks at the large lake for an hour or two before work. Peg 29, a reedy and weedy spot at the back end of the lake with around 2.5ft of water close in.

Just the float rod today and a few small brandlings and red maggot as bait. I didn’t intend for this session to be a lengthy one as I had a shift at 3pm.

Picked up the usual mixed bag of small perch, roach and a handful of F1s and a small common of probably 2.5lb.

Also bought myself a supply of replacement favourite ‘lucky floats’. I love Middy’s Carp Baggin’ Machine wagglers, especially the small 1.0g and 1.5g versions.

Wet nets.