I’ll take whatever I can get, whenever I can get it…

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Just a quick entry tonight to log a short stint on the canal.

My daughter had a ballet class at 5:30pm so, as we were walking past the shed to the car I grabbed my drop-shotting rod and reel and my pre-prepared lure holdall. I wanted to hit a shoal of perch I’d seen lurking under a road bridge a few times whilst passing over the previous weeks.

Sadly the perch were absent in numbers tonight, but I did pick up one in the 20 minutes or so I had to fish, plus a bonus jack pike that I really wasn’t expecting.

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Both were taken on a 2.5″ silvery and olive natural shad twitched across the weed flanks close in, though I did have a few taps on the far bank. The bridge, which I specifically wanted to target, was dead.

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Lots of ducks and gulls around tonight as the canal was covered in bread. Other than that it was surprisingly clean!

Take care all.

Wet nets.

 

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I caught everything beginning with ‘C’!

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Oh really?

Ok, maybe not everything beginning with ‘C’, but only because there aren’t any catfish, cod or conger in the lake. Lots of carp and chub though!

So, I was sat with wifey, have a coffee and watching a leaf cutter bee that we have nesting in the outhouse door make runs back and forth with nesting material. As we were soaking up the afternoon sun, I noticed a few clouds rolling in and made some subtle noises about popping down to the lake to see if the drop in temperature might increase my chances of a decent haul.

A few sighs later and I was in the car, with just a few maggots, around 20 dendrobena, a quarter of a bag of groundbait and a few slices of mouldy bread. Yay.

By the time I reached the lake it was getting on for 4:00pm. I’d been watching the England match and decided to just take the one rod and bag because I wanted to keep half an eye on the football on my phone. I crumbled up the few rounds of bread I had into the groundbait and set about baiting up an area just a rodlength out and dead centre on peg 30. 30 isn’t a peg I usually fish as there’s no structure or pads, but it was the shadiest so, there I went.

Hook-wise I went for a wide gape 14, good for a single worm or double / triple maggot and minimum hassle. On went a worm tipped with a red maggot and unceremoniously plopped they were into the muddy depths (well, I say depths but it’s around 2.5ft in the margins).

I started by getting a few decent carp around the 4-5lb mark and pretty much for the rest of the evening it went carp, chub, carp, chub until all told I’d landed around 20 fish altogether. Nothing massive, just a fun few hours until 6:45pm with pretty much non-stop bites.

 

Just the one tiny bream tonight as I mopped up with my remaining maggots. I did have one pearler of a fish on that I fought for around 5 minutes, but sadly the little hook pulled and I didn’t even get to see it. I’m starting to recognise the feel of carp now before I see them, and by the struggle it was putting up I suspect it was one of the big commons.

20180707_174908-1328x747Lovely to see the baby moorhens out having a practice swim this evening too. I find it fascinating how they dive in unison whenever something flies over! The place was so busy with ducks coming and going today that I think they spent more time under the water than on the surface!

So having used up the remaining maggots I decided to wend my merry way home. Not a single perch again today – not giving up though. I did wonder whether the aggressive chub (and boy were they aggressive today) were nosing them out. Possible I suppose. I did get chance to speak to one of the wardens and he said that they had been stocked recently as I suspected in an earlier blog entry.

Righty ho, I’m off for an early one. If you’re out this weekend, good luck to you!

Wet nets.

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 🙂

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.

Back at last…

It’s been a hectic few months, and in all honestly I feel pretty guilty about neglecting the blog. It’s been six months since my last trip and I had every intention of getting at least a few trips in over the winter, but life has a habit of dictating things and in my case it wasn’t telling me to go fishing.

I took the bull by the horns this morning, on Fathers Day (lol) and ran to the tackle shop to renew my club membership. Our lakes are now gated and require a key, so all told I was out of pocket by almost £70 by the time I’d bought bait and paid the deposit for the key. Hrrrmph.

As I hadn’t been to the lake for a while I wasn’t sure whether there was a match on at my favourite one, and lo and behold there was, albeit a diddler which meant I was fishing between two people wherever I went. The match was already in full swing and all the bait was being flung out to the far bank, groundbait clouds everywhere and catapults twanging willy nilly. I knew it was going to be difficult, but I stayed. I wanted to get my net wet.

I started about a rodlength out using halibut method mix, slowly trickled red and white maggots and a small waggler and picked up a few roach and a few eels. The carp were fairly absent today, no doubt gorging themselves on the underwater mountains of corn and boilies on the far bank.

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It wasn’t them I was after. I needed a perch fix.

It was approaching 1:30pm and I was getting a little chilly, tired and hungry by now. I hadn’t brought any food and the rain was increasing; I didn’t want my first proper trip of 2018 to be a damp, miserable one so I thought I’d pack in whilst I was relatively dry.

I threw the remainder of my groundbait out around four yards and opted to fish the last half an hour close in. Bump, bump went the float as the eels and roach chewed on the triple and quadruple maggot offering – no runs ensued. Glancing around at the match anglers revealed they weren’t doing much better, with the guy next to me having had just the one F1 all session.

I noticed the float bobbling side to side and assumed it was an eel, so as soon as it dipped slightly I struck into it. Something with some weight at last.

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Out came a nice 1lb 8oz fish. Not a monster by any means but a handsome looking stripy and a very welcome one too. Sorry for the blurry pic, not sure what happened there.

Fingers crossed the next outing will be a little warmer!

Wet nets.