A perch, a perch, my kingdom for a perch…

Since returning to fishing around a fortnight ago I’ve noticed that the number of perch being caught at the lake compared to last year is significantly lower. I myself have had just the one over a pound in weight, whereas this time last year I was averaging at least two per session. I realise that conditions change year on year, as does fish behaviour, health and water quality, but this drop in catches has been noted too by a few of my fellow anglers who frequent my primary fishing hole.

I’m not overly concerned, it’s still spawning time for many of the residents and the weather is scarily hot. In my experience my preferred baits (lob and dendrobena) don’t perform as well when it’s very warm. Perhaps a change of tack is in order.

So, I had a short session from 4.00pm until 8.00pm this evening as I ‘luckily’ managed to snag an evening off work. The downside was that I had to do a full 24hrs standing shift to cover sickness as many of my staff are either on leave or sick themselves. I got home this morning (I believe I floated rather than drove… it’s all a little blurry) at around 9:00am and had a power nap until 1.00pm. Looking at the weather it was, again, a scorcher and my poor arms simply weren’t up to any more sun, sun-block or not. This prickly heat is driving me mental.

Anyhoo, by 4.00 it had cooled and I had half a match pack of dendro there to get rid of as well as some chick peas, so I figured I’d go carping on the offchance of picking up a perch. This is what I do now – I go carping, hoping for perch. That way I’m not disappointed… well not much.

Same drill as last time, brolly up, deadbait rod prepped and half a piece of sweetcorn on a size 16 to get some bait. I picked up some roach and some small bream and sent the roving float replete with fresh roach across to the island, then proceeded to set up the float rod for some carp.

The action was generally slow, but steady. I had a big shoal of bream in the swim biting very shyly, and they weren’t that interested in worm so I switch to sweetcorn and eventually managed to pick up this bad boy.

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He’s old, he’s got half a tail and he’s near on 7lb 2oz and my biggest yet. He was so relaxed when I put him back I thought I might have to do CPR on him. Eventually he looked up at me mournfully and wallowed back into the murky depths.

I then picked up a few 2-3lb commons and F1s and missed a corker of a carp as it ran headlong back underneath me and tangled itself in the deadbait rod-rest.

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Eels again appeared regularly, nothing of any size yet this year but always good to see healthy numbers of them

As for the pike rod, I had one sharp double tap on the float and that was it for the entire session. Always worth having it out there though, especially if the bait is small enough for a larger perch to handle.

Wet nets 🙂

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Sunburn and Missed Chances

I’ve noticed that of late my writing has become a lot less ‘flowery’. I’ll try to address that over the coming weeks. The primary reason for this is time, as in not getting a chance to sit and write more than just the bare facts about a session. I started this blog with the intention of recording as much information as I could about trips to the lake and somewhere along the way that has been put to one side in favour of listing catches and recording weights. Steve Ridd’s blog is a shining example of what I’d love to be doing. Check him out here. He has water temperatures and everything!

I tend not to write about myself either, mainly because I’m quite a private person but also because I used to feel it detracted from the fishing aspect somehow. However, after following quite a few bloggers over the past twelve months it seems I’m missing that from my writing also. I really enjoy reading about other people’s lives in conjunction with their fishing and the interplay between the two as it’s easy to get into a position where you think all someone does is write and fish.

Other than my fishing history (as written up in my bio), I’m a 45 year old father of 3.5 children. I work full time in the healthcare sector as a manager and I’m starting a degree part-time either later this year or early next year, hoping to qualify as a social worker (please, no booing). I worked as an IT consultant for 15 years before moving into health… burnout and all that. As you already know I love fishing, but I’m also a recently qualified radio amateur and passed my foundation around 4 years ago. That’s new in radio amateur terms. I’m hoping to get stuck into my intermediate qualification soon. I primarily listen though and get a buzz out of satellite decoding and all that nonsense, especially when I’ve constructed the antennas myself.

Also, have you all been watching this? I’ve been wetting myself at it. Two of my favourite people doing what I love the most. Telly heaven!

Anyhoo. Onto the latest fishing adventure / disaster.

Well I say disaster, but it was a beautiful day and at least 28° in the shade. Sadly the only shade I had was the umbrella, being the late bird on the water and all the shady pegs having been snapped up by people who’s alarm clocks work (or don’t sleep through them). Unfortunatly I forgot about my right arm, which appears to have been soaking up sun all day outside the umbrella. Ouch.

I selected peg 34. A trusty favourite with a steep drop off at around 8 yards that normally holds fish, and proceeded to set up my float rod and a deadbait rod for some summer pike.

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On the menu today were maggots and dendrobena. Guaranteed bait on a guaranteed peg, what could go wrong? Well that’s the rub. I’m not entirely sure what went wrong but it certainly did and it wasn’t for lack of trying or lack of fishy activity.

The larger carp were all topside today, cruising up and down in groups of three or four, wallowing in the shallows and occasionally rolling over just like I would be if I was in a nice, cool pool.

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I took a few roach to start with, just tiddlers sucking the maggot tails, but for the first hour I struggled to get anything in the swim interested at all.

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A few carp decided to show up around lunchtime, nothing special just the usual 2-3lb variety who definitely had a preference for maggots today and choise to turn their noses up at any type of wormy offering or cocktail.

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So I’m afraid to say that’s about as exciting as it got. I did however get two runs on the deadbait rod, connecting with one and not even feeling the other, which was a shame because the last one’s initial hit was pretty epic with the 20g bubble shooting under and a huge swirl appearing where it had been as it took off. I wouldn’t have even noticed it as I was packing up, but the scream of the baitrunner had me turning and shouting pretty quickly!

Lots of dragonflies around today, which is lovely to see as always. Black jewel wings seem to be pretty prolific this year. I was also happy to see that our resident heron has a mate at last. Lots of fry around at the moment too, as you’d expect for this time of year. Always funny to watch the fingerling perch lashing into them from the deep tuna-style and flicking their tails as they turn back to the lake bed.

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Well, that’s about all from me for now. Not back out until next week but until then…

Wet nets 🙂

 

A few good worms…

Actually it was more like a few dead worms, but luckily fish seem to like them all the same.

It all started with a Monday off work and a happy wife, perfect ingredients for a few quiet hours at the water’s edge. I had a few very tired looking lobworms and half a pint of red and white maggots, and a plan. The plan was simple, hit the lake, bait up large and target some of the larger carp that I’d seen cruising the margins over the past week.

I got to the horseshoe lake at around 2.00pm and, for a Monday, it was pretty busy. That was ok though because the larger carp I’d seen were on the other lake which luckily was almost deserted.

Two rods out today, quiver and float, both with two halves of by now rancid lob. Straight out in front went the float at around half a rod length, and out to the right in front of some pads went the quiver, replete with a small cage feeder packed with method mix and maggots.

I picked up three eels on the float before my first carp, a chunky 4lb common who fought like a demon.

Next came a 5lb fish with a fatter belly and a beautiful bronze colour.

The smelly worms were definitely doing the business, despite now looking like rubbery lug due to the sun and heat.

I’d had nothing except two missed runs on the quiver, so I decided to try a bunch of maggots instead. The float had dropped off and was now being battered by a large shoal of fry, who tailed it like sharks wherever I plopped it in the swim. Adding insult to injury, two very large commons continued to cruise up and down underneath my feet, ripping up the bottom and producing clouds of silt whilst wagging their tails up at the surface.

I picked up a small F1 on the float, just a stocker and was unhooking it when the quiver wrapped around and the rod lurched forward in the rest. I grabbed the rod and hoisted back into a lump which I wrestled with for a good ten minutes, eventually netting it. Out came a very lively common weighing in at 10lb 2oz. I had a little trouble unhooking it and I’d had it out of the water a longer than I’d have liked, so an obliging neighbour photographed it for me and back she went. I’ll post a pic when he’s emailed it.

(… and here it is)

All in all a really fun afternoon, though how I got sunburned from under the umbrella I’ll never know!

Wet nets.

Another first…

I finally got the opportunity to get a decent session in today… meaning one lasting more than two hours. The sun was out, but guess who woke up late (having planned to be at the lake by 7:00am)? I eventually arrived bank side by 10:30am…

Having missed the best of the morning I decided that I was going to break out the big guns today and go for broke with whole lob and nothing else. I got off to a good start, bagging an almost 4lb common on the first cast. I was fishing off to the right of a small patch of lilies and quite close in, so speed was of the essence to ensure the fish weren’t bolting for cover before the rod was raised.

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This was quickly followed by a small but beautifully scaled mirror, who had sadly been in the wars. This appears to have been somewhat of a running theme today, commons and F1s followed by mirrors. Methinks there may have been a recent stocking as I don’t recall catching quite so many, and all were very similar looking.

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I did, however amongst the plethora of carp, manage to catch a first.

A chub!

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My very first, not being a prolific river fisherman. In all the years I’ve been fishing these lakes I’ve never caught one, which leads me yet again to believe that there’s been a sneaky restock at some point during my absence.

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As the morning turned to early afternoon and following another run of small F1s and commons I decided to bait up close in and switch to maggot, eventually landing a perch or two but nothing photo-worthy as well as the obligatory hoard of roach and last cast produced an eel.

All in all a perchless but thoroughly enjoyable morning on the bank.

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.

Oh, hello lure!

This morning the wife and I set off on a grand adventure, namely to buy a new electric stove. We probably did around 80 miles all told, and ended up buying it in our home town.

With most of the day wasted I was in two minds whether to pop down to the lake or not. It was getting on for 2:00pm, rather chilly and quite overcast, but with tomorrow already fully booked I thought I’d better grab the carp by the barbules, as it were.

I pulled up around 2:30pm to find my happy place full of kids, so I opted for the hawthorn peg as it usually produces close in. I had lob and red & white maggot, and again throughout the session the lob did absolutely nothing. The fish are either getting wise to it, or it’s my presentation. As nothing has changed with the latter, I can only assume the former coupled with the copious amounts of 1 – 2″ fry that are present.

First cast with the float rod (all I took) with triple red maggot, I picked up this 2lb 7oz bruiser of a perch, replete with battle scars.

Ok, I could now go home happy.

The action was pretty steady all afternoon, with everything landed on maggot. Several F1’s and a nice 4lb common, plus a string of small perch and roach. Bream have been noticably absent of late, as have eels, though I did pick up a bootlace on my previous trip.

Throught the session I had what I thought was a jack crashing the party, right next to the reeds. I’ve seen jack pike caught there before. In fact just a few weeks ago I was chatting to a lure angler about the perch he’d been picking up when he caught a small jack from the very same peg. After he left I noticed he’d dropped one of his knobbly shads so I popped it in the bag in case I ever bumped into him again.

As I was packing up I thought I’d pop the shad on to see if I could pick up the jack. Out went the jig and within a few minutes I’d landed not a jack, but a rather handsome 1lb 10oz perch.

I’m not a lure angler, but this has certainly inspired me to take the drop shot rod with me next time I go.

Wet nets.

The Magic Maggot

I haven’t been fishing for a good while but, whilst I had the chance between shifts this afternoon, I headed to the lake.

I picked up a small amount of bait on the way home, namely a small tub of lobworm and half a pint of red maggots. I wasn’t planning on spending a long time bankside today after a 24hr shift.

I arrived around 1:00 and was greeted with a relatively quiet scene. A few match lads were practicing on the walk in pegs and one pleasure angler was seated half way up the right side. I positioned myself between the two, rigged up the float rod with lob and a wide gape 12 and settled in.

The action in the first two hours was regular but slow. I landed four carp and lost a largish one due to a hooklink break. Two small F1s, a 2lb common and a 3lb mirror.

After the lost fish it slowed down for around an hour, so I switched to maggot and a size 14 hook. I picked up another F1 and a small perch plus lots of small roach. Sadly the big perch didn’t want to know.

Around 3:30pm I noticed the float running sideways and sidestruck into a lump. Reeling in gingerly due to the small hook size I was pleased to see a fair perch break the surface. 2lb 4oz all told.

All in all a fun afternoon. So much for expensive lobworm, eh?!

Wet nets.