Sunday, 27 June 2010

Preds before brekky

Sunday 27th June

The entire household was up early this morning for some reason and, although we were going out later, my better half suggested that i could have a couple of hours fishing. Whats up with her? i thought but i didnt need asking twice! I grabbed the lure gear and headed for a weirpool on a local bit of river. Below are some pics from the trip

It proved to be a fairly decent session as it turned out. Didnt catch anything huge but got a few nice bends in the rod and really enjoyed myself which is what its all about at the end of the day. I was there for no more than an hour and got home with plenty of time to spare for my breakfast!

Friday, 25 June 2010

A week of Zandering comes good in the end

Saturday 26th June

From now on i will be updating my blog when i can, usually once a week. This is because now the rivers are open again ill be fishing a lot of short sessions, sometimes up to 4 or 5 a week and its not practical to update after each trip. With all this fishing plus family commitments its hard enough just finding time to update when i do!

This week i made a concerted effort to get to grips with some Trent Zander . Fishing in the evenings after work i decided to concentrate on a new area, one which i hadnt caught from before. The weather for the week was very warm and sunny and the continuing low and clear water didnt help matters either.

The first couple of trips proved to be the usual frustrating mix of missed takes and lots of weed coming down the river and catching the line. I did manage to hook a couple of fish but they came adrift soon after the strike. I had a few bait issues too in that the only ones i had were frozen ones which had been in the freezer for at least a year so they were a bit ropey to say the least. Zander are well known for their penchant for a fresh bait so i planned to try and get some for friday nights trip.

I knocked off work early on Friday and after picking the kids up from school and sorting them out i headed out with the baitcatching gear. Within a short time or so i soon had a dozen or so prime baits in the bag and i then headed for the Zander area.

I snipped the head off a small skimmer, rigged it up and cast it into the central channel of the river. I was just taking the other rod out of the bag when the first one registered a take. The tip was banging frantically but my strike met with the usual fresh air. The bait looked ok save for a few teeth marks so out it went again. The second rod was rigged up with a Bleak and cast downstream just in time for the first rod to go again! once more nothing was on the end.
10 minutes later the tip on the bleak rod wrapped around and line began to peel off the baitrunner, this time the strike met with very brief resistance and i wound in a very tattered bait.
This pattern continued for another hour or so during which time i probably had at least 5 more pickups. I was fast becoming a world champion at missing bites and catching bugger all, how a fish could pick up a bait with two size 8 trebles in it and repeatedly not get hooked was simply beyond my comprehension, something had to be done urgently.
Anybody whos ever fished for Zeds will know how utterly finicky they can be and difficult they are to hook and keep on the hook. This has certainly been my experience with Trent Zeds.
I knew the problem lay with my hooking arangement so i had a good think and came up with what i thought might do the trick, the two trebles were replaced with one and the bait was hooked up differently too. Anything was worth a try cos what i had been doing simply wasnt working.
Within 10 minutes of casting the new rig i had a stuttery take on the downstream rod and my strike met with solid resistance. The fish fought in typical Zander fashion, keeping deep and shaking its head a lot, quite similar in fact to a large Perch. I got it to the surface and could clearly see it was hooked neatly in the scissors. It was a huge relief to get the net under it, the first one of the season at last!

After this i really started to get amongst them, the new rig was working great. I hooked 6 more, landing 2, losing 2 in snags and 2 to hookpulls. I only missed a couple of takes after the rig change, i couldnt believe the difference such a simple mod had made. I had a Pike of about 8lb too which took the bait on the retrieve. All Zander landed were hooked in the scissors.
The fresh bait certainly made a real difference to the amount of pickups i had too. There must have been a lot of Zander in front of me anyway but i had something like 16 takes which is a hell of a lot compared to the 4 or 5 i was getting on frozen baits. I had been chucking my leftover bait into the spot after each trip over the last week too so whether that had attracted a few more than normal into the peg i dont know. Prebaiting for Zander? something to think about.
Hooking seems to be somewhat sorted, just gotta try and catch a big one now!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

The Inglorious 16th and slightly beyond

Wednesday June 16th
River carping
I opted to fish opening night this year as hadnt done so for a number of years and thought it would give me a chance of getting my season off to the best possible start. The Carp on my local river were to be my target and i arrived at my chosen peg along with Phil at around 7.30pm on the 15th.
The weather had turned overnight from being cool, overcast and breezy to calm, bright and sunny. This, combined with the current low and clear condition of the river would surely make for some tough fishing i thought.
By the time it started to get dark, everything was just about ready, swims plumbed and baited, rigs tied, houses in place and cold beer cracked open, all we had to do was wait till midnight.

The magic hour finally turned and after a bit of awkward casting in the dark the rods were soon positioned. Both of us had a couple of liners straight away and soon enough my right hander, which had been placed along my downstream margin, picked up a Bream of about 4lb. Soon after, Phil also had a similar sized Bream. I really hoped we wouldnt be plagued by these all night but i neednt have worried, other than a few more liners, we had no further action for the rest of the night.

It was bright sunshine when i awoke and there was no signs of fish to be seen along the whole stretch other than the odd Bleak jumping. I decided to pack up and head to another section of the same river armed with some Perch gear.

Trying for Stripeys
After falling asleep on the sofa when i got home it was much later than i had anticipated when i finally arrived back at the river. As i drove into the field it was obvious that no-one else had been down yet as the grass was right up to the car windows!
I quickly found a likely looking spot and set about catching some livebaits. It turned out to be proper bite a chuck stuff as a succession of small Roach,Perch and Bleak soon filled the livey bucket up. The sun was really burning but i still fancied my chances of a decent stripey especially with the small fish being so active.
Yet again i was destined to be thwarted though. Despite dropping in 4 different swims i couldnt even muster a half hearted pull on even the juiciest Roach i had. This was very unusual for the area i was fishing because normally in the past the takes come thick and fast, so much so that i often run out of baitfish and end up having to catch more to keep up.
I eventually packed up quite dispondently. Maybe the Perch had moved to faster flowing more oxygenated water? I had just the weirpool in mind..........

Thursday June 17th
Weirpool perch? i dont think so!
I arrived at the weirpool at about 7am and, like yesterday afternoon, i set about catching some livebait straight away. Again, like yesterday, it was a bite a chuck and soon enough the paternoster was out there doing its thing.
Within 10minutes the rod-tip banged over savagely and then sprang straight, i reeled in a very dead Roach which bore the usual hallmarks of a perch attack, stripped scales and a tattered tailfin. I rebaited, recast and then set up a free roaming rig on my other rod. This was basically just a chubber type float set to 3/4 depth with the shot bunched up about 12 inches from the single size 4 hook which was attached to a short length of fine wire to counteract any rogue Pike which might be about.
I liphooked a livey and trotted the float down the weirpool. It got to the end of the run completely unmolested so i slowly and deliberately wound it back up the run. It got about half way back when a Pike suddenly erupted clear of the water behind the float with my Roach in its mouth! The thing led me a merry dance, tailwalking all over the pool before throwing the hook.
After this i headed across the weir to try a run or two down the far side away from the disturbance. After about 3 trots down i found myself connected to another Pike . It didnt look very big but it was a fiesty one, again tailwalking everywhere but the hookhold was much better on this one and soon a fish of about 6-7lb was on the bank.
After this i couldnt raise any more takes so i packed up and planned an evening trip to the mighty Trent in search of some Zander.
First Zander trip of the season
Phil joined me for this trip planning to fish the stickfloat to see what he could pick up. Niether of us had fished the area before but it looked good for a bite or two. The weather was still hot and sunny with a gentle breeze but i have caught Zander from this river in these conditions before so i wasnt too concerned.
I rigged up half a dead Roach and cast it along my downstream margin into about 10ft of water. As i was setting up my second rod the bobbin on the one id just cast started to bounce before steadily climbing towards the butt-ring, my subsequent strike met nothing but thin air. Typical Zander i thought. These fish are usually very finicky at the best of times and ive pulled out many a hair in the past trying to convert these positive looking takes into fish on the bank. Ive tried hair-rigging and allsorts to no avail. The best hookup rate ive found is with a simple scaled down pike snap-tackle arrangement but this tends to result in a lot of dropped takes too so even now im still trying to find the ultimate Zander hooking rig!
I recast and then placed my second rod in the central channel about a third of the way across the river in around 12-15ft of water. The whole stretch is very deep with a steady but very powerful flow to it, an environment i think the zander are well adapted to.
After about 10minutes the rod in the channel was away and a Pike of around 7-8lb was duly landed. Once i rechucked it was another half hour or so before i saw any more action, the channel rod banged a couple of times and the bobbin dropped, i hit it and felt a heavy thumping on the end, i got it near the surface and got a glimpse of something very zanderlike but it came adrift before i could get a decent look, bugger! Just after that it was the margin rods turn. The tip wrapped around and line was pouring off the baitrunner but again my strike met no resistance!!
I recast to the same spot and as i tightened up i was met the strange sensation of something pulling on the other end! It stopped so i put the rod down see if it would develop and sure enough the line began to pull off the reel again. I hit it, nothing, talk about frustrating!!
After that flurry of action i had one more take just before dark from a small Pike of about 3lb. Considering ive not fished the stretch before it certainly gave up so action so Ill be back there in the very near future for sure.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Closed Season done and dusted

Saturday 12th June

After last weeks Bream exploits i thought id have one last crack at catching a proper-un before the rivers open. I decided upon a night on the same pit i did my last night session on in the hope of landing a real lump.

After the dismal failure of my maggot methods last time around i decided to try a pellet and boilie approach alongside method feeders. A chuck around with the marker rod reavealed a fairly uniform bottom with very little weed. The lake is virtually split in two by a large bar in the centre and it was along this that i cast my right hander. The other two rods were fanned around to the left of this with the middle rod in about 10ft of water and the left-hander out in about 16ft. Each rod then had a scattering of boilies and i sat back for the wait.
As it started to get dark, one or two Bream began to show in the deep water near my left-hander, some good fish too. As day turned to night i settled into my sleeping bag , full of anticipation of some action during the darkness but alas none was to be forthcoming.

After a fairly decent nights kip i awoke to bright sunshine at around 5ish. After answering the call of nature and checking the rods i jumped back in the bag and spent the next hour drifting in and out of conciousness until the alarm on my left hander jolted me back to reality. I was out of the bivvy like a shot and soon found myself connected to a fish. It came in like a wet lettuce but but even so it was great to actually land something from the venue. At 7lb on the nose it was a small-un but very welcome-un!

Just after returning that fish i noticed a couple of bream roll in the open water about 40 yards off the big bar. I quickly reeled in my middle rod and repositioned it to where i spotted the fish. I was well confident but even so, it still caught me off-guard when the middle alarm sounded about half an hour later!
I struck into the fish and was surprised when this one actually pulled back! it fought well for a Bream but after a quick tug-of-war in the weed, a nice 8lber was soon landed.

No more action came my way after that but i was well chuffed to have banked a couple and soon decided to start packing up. As i put my sleeping bag away i was shocked to find that id been sharing my bed for the night with the worlds biggest and most disgusting bug! it had shed its skin and everything! think it was a dragonfly but cant be sure, it was nasty whatever.

Well, thats the closed season done for me, my next trip will be on a river and im itching for it!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Bittersweet endings

Sunday 6th of June

With 10 long days left till you know when, i opted for a final closed season trip to Tamworth with my old mate Paul. The forecast had given out heavy, thundery showers for today but as it turned out we actually had them in the night and although it was drizzling upon our arrival it soon brightened up and turned into bright sunshine.
I decided upon an out and out pellet attack and soon had the method feeders in place. After an hour or so of biteless fishing the bailiff turned up and informed us of a session he enjoyed yesterday where him and a couple of mates had caught several big bream to double figures from the pegs up the far end to where we were. The bream had been spawning up there apparently but nevertheless, bites are hard to come by on this particular lake so it had to be worth a look. As soon as the bailiff was gone i was around the far side and sure enough, the Bream were there in numbers. Not spawning just cruising about in the surface layers. I told Paul and after having a quick look for himself a move was soon the order of the day.
Once setup it was soon apparent that there was a lot of Bream in front of us and, although there was a couple of hefty fish amongst them, the majority were fairly small and looked to be around the 7lb mark. This was a little disappointing as id been led to believe the average size was 9lb+ and the majority of the fish in front of us certainly werent that size.
Never mind, we soon cast out and within minutes i had a fish on only to lose it straight away. This was repeated twice more over the next hour and a decided to tweak my rig a bit in a bid to actually land something. The mods seemed to do the trick as a went on to land 3 bream over the course of the afternoon as did Paul. All 6 fish landed were between 6-8lb.
The average size confirmed my suspicions about people exaggerating the sizes of the fish in there. Lets face it a 7lb Bream on the mat to the unitiated could quite easily seem to be a 10lber due to its sheer depth of body and length. I definately saw a couple of double figure fish cruising about but its another one of those places where i dont fancy battling through the small ones to get to the bigguns. Bites on the water are hard enough to get as it is unless you land on them so it looks like another water off the radar, for now anyway. Despite all this it was great to catch from the lake, no Tench this time though.
Like the title of this entry suggests its a bittersweet ending to my time on the lake but there are plenty of others on my Radar so watch this space.....