Sunny, but uneventful

Had a few hours at the large lake today and took the pike rod for something a little different to do.

I settled on peg 12, somewhere I haven’t fished for around 4 years and in the past it was pretty productive. Sadly, it quickly became apparent that the main swim was pretty choked with branches and cuttings from the spring clearing. It’s all well and good making the banks pretty, but when the fishing suffers it all seems a bit counterproductive.

I soldiered on nonetheless, popping a float ledgered roach up along the right margin and feeding against the pads to my left. Over the following hours I had a few sharp taps on the pike rod (likely from eels or crashing carp) and little else. On the float rod, a steady stream or roach and F1s plus a carp of around 3lb.

A sunny but largely uneventful afternoon with nothing really worth taking photos of, except of course the obligatory huge perch. I wasn’t going to post this picture as I know they make Steve jealous…


Wet nets.

A tale of two sessions…

Update: Thought I’d start adding some info re. gear used to each post as a memory jogger.

  • Shakespeare Sigma 10′ Pellet Waggler
  • Shakespeare Sigma 2500 small BR reel (Baitrunner for float fishing? Handy when fishing off the rod tip!)
  • 1.5g loaded Drennan Crystal Waggler
  • 6lb Maxima Chamaeleon
  • Size 12 WG Drennan Super Specialist
  • Red Maggot (loose) Double Dendrobena (hook / one halved)
  • Halibut Method Mix

Last night was a bit of a washout, between the dropping temperatures and misty, clinging rain I’d had enough by 7.30pm having started at 6.00pm. My cat, Ernie, had gone missing too and my mind wasn’t on the job. I snagged a few carp but it was all pretty miserable. Ernie is home safe now, by the way!

I made a note of the peg number (5) as, considering I wasn’t ‘trying’ the fishing was consistent and the fish were of a good stamp. Tonight I decided to try peg 6, another one I hadn’t tried before.

Both pegs are pretty bland, featurless and open. 6 looked better due to a few reeds out to the left. What I did notice immediately was the proliferation of Elodea close in. It made fishing off the rod tip difficult with varying depths and regular snags, which was annoying as the carp were fizzing around like mad. I managed to bag an eel, a few small F1s and a nice 4lb common however, then shortly before switching swims I picked up a perch of 2lb 3oz.

Shortly after picking up the ragged perch above, I switched to the left hand side of the swim and found it to be much clearer. Sadly the bites were slower in coming, with the eels moving in quickly, then some bream and a little later a lovely common just touching 5lb.

With the weather being warm and the sun shining I was loathed to leave, but pack away I did, leaving my float next to the bank while I cleaned out the groudbait bucket. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the float dip and travel to the edge of the boards. I picked the rod up and the tip arced over. On the other end, a large perch of 2lb 7oz had picked up my scrappy worm.

What a nice way to end the night! More fuel for the argument that often the big ones really are at your feet.

This was further evidenced when I washed the net out and inadvertently netted these beautiful fry. No wonder the perch are big, and not as inclined to pick up baits at the moment.

Wet nets!

Helping Out

Last week, a colleague asked if I’d mind his son tagging along on a session to see if fishing is something he’d like to do. He was a little skeptical, as was his son, but this afternoon we decided to give it a go.

I arrived at the lake around 1.30 and the young lad met up with me shortly thereafter. I have to say he was a lovely kid, really polite and keen to learn which put me at ease straight away. I even got him catching a few roach from cast to net by the end and he was really chuffed. We even took a photo of him holding his first fish. A great afternoon all around.

Nothing particularly special was initially caught. A few small perch fell to maggot and dendrobena as well as the obligatory roach. F1’s have been thin on the ground over the past few weeks, and I was keen to show the lad a few bigger fish and how to play them. With the action being relatively slow, I groundbaited fairly heavily and got us settled in a cosy swim next to some lilies.

The perch started to get a little bigger, as did the roach and later a few small F1s moved in also, so a really mixed bag for the afternoon. It was extra especially nice as the young one got to see a few different species of fish and the roach were fairly sizeable. I had one pushing a pound come off as it was being landed.

Around 4.00pm I dropped into a large carp and the lad’s jaw dropped as it hit the surface. I explained it was only a relatively small one of around 6-7lb and this seemed to whet his appetite even more. I even got a shot of me holding a fish for once!

Shortly after, his dad came to pick him up. I pondered on staying and after picking up a 2lb plus perch close in I decided to do just that, wrapping up around 6.30pm having bagged a few more roach and a beautifuly golden coloured common of around 3lb (which I neglected to photograph).

Just what the doctored ordered.

Wet nets!

An awful evening, and a new PB!

As I clocked off the night shift at 10am, my thoughts turned to the relaxing afternoon I was planning to spend lakeside, melting in the serenity of a balmy July afternoon.

As it turned out I ended up in Ikea, then Lidl… and then my mother turned up. I did manage to get to the lake by 5.00pm, but all hope of de-stressing was lost as the sky darkened and raindrops began hitting the water.

Nevertheless, out came the rods and up went the umbrella. I was determined to get a few hours in at least. As it happened the lake was pretty busy. Lots of ne’er do wells clearly fishing for the table and not a bailiff in sight. Thankfully all the tracksuits I eyeballed seem to have blanked and went home as the rain got heavier, leaving their signature carrier bags full of rubbish and empty beer cans behind. Apparently plans are afoot to fence off the lake and allow member access only – hopefully that’ll happen sooner rather than later, though I will miss chewing the fat with responsible types who walk around the lakes for recreational pleasure.

An eel on the first cast seemed appropriate. I wasn’t in a good mood. I then got a brief lift from a nice perch which I didn’t weigh, but I suspect was around 1 3/4lb. Much better.

I was fishing close in with both rods due to a lot of tow on the lake. The aerator was on and peg 11 (not one I usually fish due to there being little in the way of structure) was very near to it. To be honest, I don’t enjoy using the quiver tip. I much prefer the float and I think I’ll probably stick to float and float from now on rather than mixing it up. I’m not sure if it’s something I’m doing, but on this particular lake the quiver just doesn’t compare productivity wise to the float. I also enjoy being able to give my attention to just the one rod. Two is nice if you’re running baitrunners for pike and you can sit back and relax, but neck ache shouldn’t be part of anyone’s relaxation regime.

I digress. So the perch went back and I continued to bait around the float using a single dendrobena for around 30 mins, having only caught the eel and the perch. Then I called my wife.

Calling the wife is a tried and tested method of getting a bite. I can guarantee that if bites are slow or not coming at all, my lucky charm will do the business for me. Tonight she came through for me superhero style. As we chatted about things to buy for the house, my float started slowly moving in a fairly large circle. I thanked her for the luck she’d bestowed upon me and she laughed and hung up.

Striking into the fish, I thought I was snagged. The rod tip careened around and the drag screamed as my little pellet waggler bowed to try and halt the by now 30 yards away fish, all to no avail. Out it went into the lake and back it came, slamming into the rod rest and pushing past the quiver tip’s tip, then back out again. It wasn’t surging, just running with the occasional drag jarring jolt. After 10 minutes, whatever it was began to tire and I started slowly hauling it back to the bank. I hadn’t seen what it was, but I knew it was big.

As I raised the rod tip to see what I’d caught I could see it was easily my PB carp. Please bear in mind I’m not a carp fisherman, so for me this is a pretty big deal. I eventually managed to get it into the net (which was far too small) and hauled it out of the water, net handle creaking with the strain.

PB carp in the bag. 11lb 2oz of very much chuffedness. Not bad for 6lb line and a size 12 hook. Also another one off the bucket list!

The rain by now was coming down very heavily, so I hunkered down beneath the brolly for the next hour and a half and watched the world go by. The swim was effectively destroyed by the crashing fish and other than a few nibbles I got nothing else until around 8.30pm. I’d swapped the float and quiver around to take advantage of a small bit of cover right at my feet and was getting hammered by gudgeon and fry, my float wibbling and wobbling and doing little else. ‘I know’, I thought, ‘I’ll pop on a single maggot and have a little fun’.

On went the maggot and within seconds of it hitting bottom the float slid under. I struck once more into a brick wall. Out into the middle of the lake went the fish and then back into my quiver line, almost dragging the other rod into the lake with it. I battled it for a good 6 or 7 minutes before the hook pulled, but I did get eyes on it. It was a mirror of probably 9 or 10lb.

With that, and with line everywhere and my fingers numb from the cold rain it was time to call it a night. A strange night, but a weirdly productive one too.

Wet nets!




16 Days Later

I’m back, having moved and survived, albeit a little bruised and battered. As per my previous post I’m adamant that I’m never moving again, and if I do I’ll be selling everything and starting afresh. What a nightmare.

We’re a very small family and help is in short supply. My dad has really bad knees, my mum is 4ft nothing and my step-parents are poorly, out of the country or both. I have one reliable friend and he’s poorly too… so then there’s me and the wife with three kids in tow.

Aaaaaaaaaanyway, onto fishing and happier things.

16 days without a rod out and, as you can imagine I was game as a march hare in speedos tonight when an opportunity to pop down the lake arose. Lots of rainclouds were looming, but to be honest nothing was going to stop me getting some me time.

I raced to the tackle shop around 3 to find that it was (worryingly) closed, so I ended up having to drive to the next town to get some bait. Maggots and dendrobenas collected, I arrived at the lake around 4.00pm to find it bereft of kids, despite the summer holidays, and that my usual peg was free. All going according to plan so far. Now all I had to do was remember how to fish.

I started in my usual manner by little and often feeding off to the side of the lilies, feeding sparingly with maggots and using dendrobena on a size 12. I started picking up small F1s which for the first hour and a half was fun, but pretty much nothing else was making an appearance. The reeds at my feet, however, were buzzing with lots of movement and fry scattering everywhere.

I replumbed, doubled up on the dendrobena and popped the float out at the tip of the rod. Within a few seconds the float shot under and I had a handsome 2lb perch in the landing net.

After 30 minutes of no further takes, I began loose feeding next to the adjacent set of pads on the right of the swim and after a few minutes switched to that area. Within seconds of the worm dropping in, a huge carp surfaced and my float screamed straight through the pads, with little or no chance of me holding the fish back. Try as I might I couldn’t get the bugger to budge, and shortly thereafter it rose in the reeds next to the bank and flicked its head, snapping my line completely.

My favourite lucky float sat forlornly in the pads, bobbing the wake of the rising fish. Mercifully I could get a rod tip to it and gently tapped it back to within landing net distance.

Phew. Lucky float is now on life #612. I may have kissed it before sliding it back up the line.

Round 2.

Back to Plan A. I returned to the spot where I caught the perch and decided to give the last hour to that area, knowing that there were fish moving. I pulled in a few eels and a few skimmers but no further perch, then about 7.30 the float gently started travelling across the swim and I struck into a pretty mirror of around 3.5lb. Then the swim went crazy. Larger carp appeared to be descending on my groundbait and within an hour I’d taken the mirror, two 6lb commons and an 8.5lb common, as well as quite a few F1s and smaller commons.

And then I got a birds nest and I ran out of worms.

Time to go home. Great night though and lots of fun catching these hard fighting carp on relatively light gear.

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.