I must be mental…

That’s what I was thinking as I trudged up the muddy path around the lake to my favourite (and very boggy) peg. I’d agreed to meet a friend for an hour or two after work, but considering we’d cancelled several times before I kinda felt commited.

The rain was torrential and I had no coat, so by the time I got the brolly up I was soaked to the skin. Across came my grinning mate with a cup of coffee, and a carp and a cuppa later, I was feeling a little more cheery.

I’d settled on a small 2g Drennan Loafer as I was using pretty large lobworm and it was worked out nicely for me. Bites were fairly consistent, but not as regular which is what you’d expect using larger bait.

I picked up a quite a few small commons and F1s and what was probably my PB bream (at a whopping 1lb 2oz – they don’t grow very big in here) but only got 2 perch. One was around 1lb and the other just shy of 3lb. Pics of largest fish below.

Can’t write much more this morning as I think I’ve broken a bone in my elbow. Common sense says I should go to the docs.

Wet nets!

Kicking the bucket list

Here in sunny Wales each year we are forced to endure something called the ‘Velothon’. For one Sunday a year, almost the entire road network is closed and everyone, except for cyclists, is massively inconvenienced. This meant that my planned trip to the lake and much needed therapy session had to be fast forwarded to this evening.

I couldn’t get away particularly early as the electrician was working on my kitchen, so it ended up being a 5.00pm start. No matter, I wanted to christen my new bag anyway.

I picked my usual peg and popped out lob on both the float and the feeder. In the first two hours I battled against the floating balsam and had to cherrypick clear spots, sadly all to no avail. A reasonable carp in the first few minutes on the float was closely followed by a tiny perch, and then the swims went dead. The only things I could seem to pick up were small eels.

I considered packing up for the evening but decided to move both rods in close for an hour when I noticed the balsam clearing.

The feeder picked up a small carp but then went quiet, and fearing that the perch weren’t in the mood I downsized my hook to a 12 and decided to have some fun with the roach on maggot. The float went under and ironically I picked up a decent carp first cast.

Something was evidently amiss with the feeder, so I swapped it for a 1/2oz bomb and fed directly over lob hookbait with maggot as I was running low on groundbait.

The rod tip bounced gently and straight away I was into a fish. Not just any fish either…

… I’d caught my first ever tench!! I genuinely almost wept. This little 1.5lb fish was 30 years late but more than welcome. The first thing I noticed was how placid and calm natured it was, and it felt amazing in my hands. Fantastic!

Back went the tench and, as I’d now run out of worms I popped a bunch of maggots on the running ledger. The carp came thick and fast and weirdly the quiver started out-fishing the float. In all honesty I tend to use the quiver as an ‘also’ rod and don’t give it the attention it deserves, only going to it when I get a solid wrap around. I should really have a session on it solely to get more practice in.

Around 9.00 I baited up with a more maggots (red, white, red, white, red… always) on the quiver and threw out against the pads in the vain hope that I could pick up a decent perch. Lo and behold within 10 minutes I’d snagged a decent 2lb fish.

Disaster had been avoided.

All in all a bit of a rollercoaster of an evening, but well worth the initial stress. I‘ll pop the bag review up tomorrow.

Wet nets!

Attic be damned

I’ve spent two days up there. I think I’ve lost a stone in sweat alone.

Tonight I announced to the whole house (my wife, a small child with headphones on and a dirty cat) that the attic could ‘do one’, and that I was off to the lake and I was taking my sweat rash and dirty fingernails with me. To be frank I was expecting some resistance, but none was forthcoming. So, Kato-like, I leapt through the front door, brandishing my car keys in a dramatic fashion and back-flipped my way to the kerb before anyone could sense I was missing.

On the way to pick up worms, I called a friend that I fish with occasionally to see if he’d like to join me. Apparently I woke him up. He mumbled something about ‘maggerts’ and ‘sleepy’ and finally showed up two hours later without his gear. This is why I love him. The sad fact is, he’s my only real friend and I don’t get to see him very often, but being a solitary type anyway, this arrangement suits me fine. He’s miserable too.

I arrived at the lake to find my usual peg free of piles of gear, ducks and serious looking overnight type carp fishermen. Excellent. I’d seen two of them rigging up their barrows for transit in the car park and as soon as they spotted me unpacking my gear, they hightailed it to the gate. Unfortunately for them (but fortunately for me) they didn’t realise that barrows won’t fit through the stile, so when I arrived at the gate they were hastily unpacking them to try and squeeze them through. I smiled and said ‘Hi’, walking to my peg whilst musing about the tale of the hare and the tortoise.

My rod was in the water by 5:00pm but the tow on the lake prevented me from fishing more than a rodlength out without going heavier on the float. The peg I fish at is only around 3ft deep close in, but there seemed to be some activity so I opted to fish right off the rod tip.

Conditions for perch were definitely not ideal tonight with the weather changing literally every five minutes from sunny to windy to overcast. The promised thunder thankfully, however, stayed away.

To start I went for double dendrobena on a size 10 wide gape and picked up a nice 2.5lb fish within the first hour, along with a few small commons and F1s. The roach were voracious, and in the shallow water continued to batter my worms relentlessly, even when shotted down. With this in mind, I switched to a size 12 around 7:00pm and decided to clear the swim of roach, then switched back to worm.

One particularly funny moment occured when my friend almost got stung by a hornet whilst netting a large common for me. Well, I laughed anyway.

Unfortunately the swim went dead after that, so for the last hour I hugged a very small patch of lilies to the right and fed the last of my groundbait and some chopped worm into the very perchy looking margin.

After a few minutes the swim went bonkers. Carp descended from everywhere and I ended up with several nice fish, the best of which was just over 9lb, along with a small mirror which was so prettily marked, I felt it warranted a photo. The large carp was a fun and protracted fight. Using 6lb line and with only a size 12 on I was on and off the drag for a good six to seven minutes. Luckily the plump little female didn’t attempt to dive for the lilies, but kept her head down and bolted for the middle of the lake. She wasn’t particularly long, just very chunky.

The more I ‘accidentally’ catch carp, the more the fascination that carp anglers have with them is revealed to me. The variation in morphology, colours and temperament is incredible and I have to admit, I definitely have a soft spot for mirrors. The little one above was only pushing 2lb, but it fought like buggery. There aren’t many in my lake, so catching one is always a bit special.

I think I’m going to add carp to my fishing bucket list. Nothing too ambitious. Maybe a double figure fish to start and see where we go from there.

Kato, out.

Making up for lost time

I spent a few hours on my usual peg tonight to try and make up for yesterday’s truncated session. The fishing was slow and laborious, with only tentatively biting carp and a few mediocre perch initially making an appearance.

Fish fry
Fry in the margins

I opted to fish close in with both rods, using lobworm on each and was pretty busy on the float initially, but after a short while it slowed down. The quiver tip blessed me with just one carp, and a small one at that. As the evening progressed the margins began swarming with fry, and I could see regular attacks by small perch up to around 4-5oz breaking the surface.

I opted to move a few feet further out, hoping the larger perch would be hanging back in slightly deeper water. Around 6.30 I hit a sluggish and dragging bite on the float and struck into a dead weight. I literally pulled the fish to the bank as it offered little resistance. As the fish broke the surface I could immediately see it was a perch and a fair one at that.

Very odd though, especially for a large perch to give no fight whatsoever, especially as it was hooked so close in. 2.4lb soaking wet.

By 8.30 I’d had enough of the F1s and decided to head home. Sigh. Not the evening I had planned.

I’m moving house shortly so both internet access and fishing will be in short supply. We’ll catch up soon.

Wet nets.

With a cherry on top!

So yesterday afternoon I got called into work unexpectedly, and ended up doing an all-nighter. This not only put pay to my plans for an evening session yesterday, but also most of the scrappy bait I had left over, as by the time I got home this lunchtime most of my old maggots had turned into casters.

In a last ditch attempt to salvage something out of my misfortune, I made a sad face at the wife and she waved me off to the lake for the afternoon as she wanted some time with a book.

Result.

Packing the car I took stock of what I had… a few very slow moving maggots, lots of casters, a bit of red crumb and a few dodgy worms that looked like they needed a good meal. Liquorice allsorts on float gear it was then.

Not specifically targeting perch today, I pulled up at the peg I tried out the other night around 12:00 and popped out the float with a steady stream of maggots and casters, using a single small worm as bait. I’d downsized to a size 12 as I wanted to catch the roach and skimmers today, rather than avoid them.

Parking the float around a rodlength out against the lilies I enjoyed intermittent sport all day, along with a few reasonable sized roach, carp and the usual suicidal baby perch.

Around 2.30 it was time for me to transform into ‘Dad’s Taxi’, and, with the wind picking up I replumbed and decided to give it 20 mins close in, sprinkling the last few maggots and bits of crumb over a small break in the lilies not 3ft from the bank. Within seconds the float shot under and an almighty battle ensued thanks to a heavy-set perch erupting from between the pads.

He led me a merry dance out into the lake and back to the lilies, initially snagging himself which resulted in a stalemate for a few minutes. I gently relaxed the line and allowed him some movement, reapplying pressure as I saw the pads part and then literally dragging him free.

With the battle over and the ragged old stager on the bank, the scales decreed 3lb on the nose, clearly still feeding well despite his malformed tail and ripped dorsal. Interestingly, this fish had a very similar deformity of the tail to one I caught some time ago, I wonder if it’s genetic or a coincidence?

A nice was to end the day anyway. I have a low-fishing diet week this week due to kid’s exams and work, so I’ll likely be back at the weekend at the earliest.

TL.

A few hours in the rain

I resolved to try a peg I’d been eyeing up for a few weeks tonight. Originally I’d planned a short 2hr stint at the lake but, as the fishing was steady and I had some good company, I stayed until the light started to get low.

When I arrived there was just one other angler who, as luck would have it, was sat in my usual peg. No problem, the lake was big enough for both of us and I had other plans in mind.

I settled into a shady spot at the opposite end of the lake on a peg I haven’t fished for at least 12 months. The lilies either side had grown back and the overhanging trees promised sneaky spots for perch to hide in.

Both sets of pads looked promising, but the orientation of the left one allowed for a nicer lie with the quiver, so out that went with a small cage feeder, some red maggot and a bunch of small worms. The float went to my right, again with worm and loose fed maggots.

For the first hour it was slow. An F1 on the first cast was not a sign of things to come and I struggled to get any fish into either swim for at least an hour. As the light started to drop around 6:00pm the action heated up and I began to pull in a steady stream of F1s and small commons, around 20 in total.

At around 7:30pm I got a solid hit on the float and pulled in a decent Perch of smack on 2lb.

Then not 15 minutes later, the quiver wrapped around and I netted a similar stamp Perch from beneath the other pads.

All in all a fun night, and I’ll probably give this peg another try on an early morning in a week or two.

The rain and darkness saw me off at around 8:30pm but I really enjoyed this evening.

New Scales

I bought some new scales. Yay! Just a cheap set for now. Hopefully I can pick up some swanky digital scales next month.

I christened them on this lovely, fat 5lb common this afternoon, which gave me quite a fight on light float tackle. Sadly the perch, save one small one, eluded me today. Just a 2 hr and yet again very wet session at the lake this afternoon. Fish seemed to be off the feed again and… lots of eels and small F1s.

The ducklings are growing rapidly, but sadly are now halved in number. They were relentless again today, only moving off 30 mins or so before I packed up and then only because someone else had started to fish.

Tired now, but after a 24hr shift at work, nothing beats a few hours by the water to clear your mind.