Sunday, 27 March 2011

Cooling off

Saturday 26th March

For Saturdays trip i was back on the pit i visited last week. The weather forcasters had given out a cold front coming from the north which meant quite a drop in temperature for this weekend and they were right. Daytime temps had been up to 17-18degrees in the week but as i drove to the lake the gauge in the car was hovering around 5degrees, not good for Tench.
When i arrived i was surprised to see that the lake was really busy, in fact i couldnt get anywhere near the area i fished last week as it was totally stitched. With this in mind i decided to head around the far side which looked pretty clear . There was a couple of other chaps also unloading their cars so i had to be quick, oh the joys of day ticket waters!
After a Linford Christie style sprint i arrived, totally knackered, at a peg which gave me good command of quite a bit of water without the threat of other anglers cutting me off. Once id composed myself i set about having a lead around to check the weed situation. I found that the clearest area seemed to be to the left of the swim at around 50yards, anywhere closer or to the right of the swim was hopelessly weeded out so i decided to put all my eggs in one basket and fish both rods to the clear spot.

Shortly after casting in the Roach started attacking the baits the same as last week but i was using long hairs so it took a bit longer before the inevitable happened and i hooked one. Over the course of the morning i ended up hooking several but they seemed to be a better average size than the ones last week. All were 8oz+ and i weighed the biggest at 1lb2oz, a nice fish.
I wish the Tench and Bream were as forthcoming but unfortunately they werent! A nice Bream rolled over my baited area at lunchtime and gave me a nice confidence boost but it wasnt to be, other than the Roach, nothing else wanted to know. A Carper fishing nearby had a Bream of 10lb+ and another had a 22lb Mirror but they were the only other fish to be caught around the whole lake as far as i know.

After packing up at teatime i stopped off to have a look at another pit id been tipped off about and was quite impressed with the look of the place. It was a far cry from the pit id fished earlier in that there wasnt a soul fishing on it whatsoever! Thatll do me i thought, once the weather improves ill give it a bash.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Too early for a Tench? Never say never!

Sunday 20th March

With the rivers finishing last week it had been my intention move onto to a couple of commercial fisheries ive had my eye on for a Perch or two but as ever, my fickle nature came into play and wrecked my plans.  A conversation with a mate last week got my Tench juices going and by the time the weekend came around i had a session planned on a pit at Tamworth where i had a few last year. We had some frosts over the last couple of nights and i had some doubts about whether the Tench would be moving yet, the pit holds some good Bream aswell though so if the Tincas werent on it then hopefully the Bream would be.

I arrived at the lake and the conditions look pretty damn good, calm, mild and overcast with a slight drizzle in the air. The water in the pit is always as clear as tap water and its very shallow so i needed any help the weather could offer. Looking out across the lake there wasnt much sign of anything fishy going on so i opted for a spot which gave me good access to some slightly deeper water off the end of an island which i reasoned could be a good area to pick off any passing fish.

A few exploratory casts told me that there was still a lot of tough old blanket weed about left over from last year but fortunately the clearest area seemed to be exactly where i had intended to fish off the end of the island. I rigged up two rods with the ever faithful maggot bolt-feeders and cast them out.
Once settled the rod-tips banged intermittently as Roach attacked the maggots and after a while one of about 6oz hooked itself. I went on to get several more over the next couple of hours and i got the feeling that i had to do something to ward them off a bit so that the Tench and Bream could get a look-in.

I started by upping the hook size and utilizing a maggot clip on a hair with the intention being that it would look a bit too crude to the Roach and that even if they did pick up the bait then they wouldnt hook up due to the length of the hair. It didnt work, i gave it an hour and they were still chewing on the maggots and i even managed to catch a couple more. I wasnt happy with how the rig looked either, im not a fan of maggot clips and i felt that there was way too much metal on show at the business end for the Tench to pick up the bait.
After a bit of a think i replaced the black-cap maggot feeder with a small open ended feeder packed with groundbait. I dropped the hooksize down to a 14 and instead of a clip i used a micro ring on a long hair and threaded about 7 or 8 maggots onto a length of line which was then tied to the ring. The resulting rig was much more low profile and i was well happy with it.
After a while of fishing the new setup i was still getting the odd twitch from the Roach but nothing like as bad as before. I had a feeling they had been homing in on the maggots coming from the feeder and mopping them up before anything else got a chance to find them. Now i was using maggot-free groundbait, it wasnt AS attractive to the Roach and there was still going to be some food particles around should anything bigger come along.
Time was ticking away uneventfully but as it approached 4oclock i had another Roachy take. I picked up the rod, struck and was pleasantly surprised when it took on a bit of a curve and the fish on the end actually pulled back! I soon netted a rather tatty looking Tench of about 3lb. It could well have been the smallest in the lake but it was concrete proof that there was one or two on the feed!

Pleased at getting one under my belt at last i rebaited and recast both rods for the last hour. I had to clear off by 5 if i was to get home in time for the sunday roast but even so i was well confident of another take beforehand. I had just started to tidy some gear up when the right hander signalled a fast take, the baitrunner was properly hissing as i picked up the rod. This one felt a bit bigger than the last and despite it finding some reeds in the margin i eventually managed to scoop it out and confirm a weight of 5.2.

A passerby did the honors with the camera and after returning it i called time and headed for home. I was quite happy having put my earlier doubts to rest, the pit hasnt got a huge stock of Tench and to get a couple in March was pretty good i thought.
I really should go Perching next week before the Carp get mega active but if the Tench are feeding then i fear it may already be too late!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Final week on the rivers

Monday 7th March

After the Roach success over the weekend i was keen to get back on the rivers because the last week of the season has usually been pretty successful for me in the past. If i had known what it was going to be like this week beforehand though i dont think id have bothered!  The weather given for Monday was not good for fishing, an overnight frost accompanied by sunshine and clear blue skies made for some incredibly bright conditions.
I started the day on the river Derwent fishing for Perch and despite trying several swims i couldnt get so much as a sniff. The water was as clear as tap water which didnt help. A move to the Trent had me faring no better although the water there did have a little more colour to it. In order to save the trip i dropped in on the Soar on my way back and scratched out a Chub of about 4lb on breadflake.

Tuesday 8th March

Headed for the Trent with Chub in mind but conditions were identical to yesterday and i couldnt buy a bite. Bread, cheesepaste and worms couldnt tempt a sausage so i headed for the Soar again. I missed a bite first cast and then that was it, total blank!!

Wednesday 9th March

Feeling like i was in a bit of a rut i decided to head to the Dove for a change. The weather was somewhat different to that of the last couple of days being cloudy with a stiff breeze. I fancied it for a Perch or two but after a couple of hours of dropping lobs under any likely looking bushes and in various slacks i was still biteless. The wind was making bite indication tricky cos i only use a 3/4oz tip for Perching and it was being blown about all over the place.
Eventually i had a couple of decent plucks and connected  with what felt like a good Perch to start with but turned out to be a Chub of around 3lb.

After that i headed back to where id started and within minutes the tip slowly pulled around and i hit into a decent fish. I could feel the line grating through some overhanging branches and a large boil followed by the glimpse of a stripey flank was all i saw before the hooklink parted, gutted. No more action came after that and i headed for home somewhat disappointed.

Saturday 12th March

I decided to grab a quick evening session on the Derwent on Saturday, target Perch. Ive not fished the Derwent much at all this season mainly because ive not had my usual Derwent tickets which is a shame cos ive had some really great results from there in past years. I aim to redress the balance next season but anyway back to the present, i arrived at about 4ish and there was a couple of anglers already there without a great deal to report. Conditions looked spot-on, very overcast, mild and no wind whatsoever, i was very confident of some action.
I settled in a spot where a large raft of debris had collected around a semi-sunken tree and placed my legered worm alongside it. I kept a steady trickle of maggots going in and knew from past experience that although this area usually only yeilded a couple of bites a session they were usually good fish. After a while the tip jagged quickly and i struck too soon and missed it, cursing myself i placed the bait again and waited.
By now it was getting darker by the minute and i knew time was running out, it had started to drizzle aswell which wasnt pleasant. Just as i was thinking of calling time i had a pluck on the tip and my hand automatically moved into hover position over the rod. Ten minutes later nothing had developed and it was too dark for another cast so i packed up scratching my head somewhat. The other lads downstream reported a couple of nice fish but they too said it had been hard going.

Sunday 13th March

I was in two minds as to what to do today on what was to be my last trip of the river season. After a gruelling week i really wanted to make the last session count. The given weather was dull and wet in the morning before brightening up for the afternoon. I thought about heading back to the Derwent seeing as it had produced one or two Perch to other anglers but after the time ive put into the Dove this season and the disappointment of losing a couple of biggies, i was drawn back to it in a bid to settle the score.
I got up a bit later than id planned and i had to sort some bits for the kids but even so i was pleased to be headed up the A50 by about 8.30. Even as i drove i still couldnt decide where to go but as i approached the turnoff for the Derwent i found myself putting my foot down and driving past it, the Dove it was then.
I was pleased to see only one other car in the carpark and i headed straight to the scene of my last Perch encounter. It was drizzly and overcast and i was well confident. As is usual with the Dove it soon knocked me back down to size and i was fighting an uphill struggle to get a bite. A couple of small Grayling fell to the worms though which boosted me a little cos id not caught Grayling on lobs before. The temptation was there to switch to maggots and start hauling but i was there for a Perch and nothing less would do.
I wandered downstream and found some likely spots but some rather over-friendly bullocks had decided i was far more interesting than eating grass and wouldnt leave me alone. As soon as i sat down i was surrounded which isnt great when your trying to be a bit stealthy!

In the end i had to leave that field altogether, even a tap on the nose with a bankstick didnt deter them. It was a first for me, ive never been cowed off the river before!
By now it had brightened up considerably and i was convinced my chances of a Perch had gone. I sat down next to a nice looking slack and cast in whilst i pondered my next move. I was taken completely by surprised when the tipped suddenly pulled around hard and stayed there. I picked up the rod and it became apparent i was connected to a nice Perch and i soon had it ready for netting. Trouble was, the net was still sticking out of my rod bag which was  out of reach at the top of the bank! I had no choice but to pick the fish out of the water by hand, no mean feat when your 3ft above the water, good job im a lanky bugger! At 2lb12oz it turned out to be my best from the Dove so far.

After photographing and returning it i had another put-in whilst i tidied my kit up and couldnt believe it when i had another bite straight away. I bent into it and it headed towards to middle of the river whereupon the hook pulled. Bloody hell theyre like buses! I chanced another cast and had a repeat performance, this time however i managed to stay connected to the fish and soon had it ready for netting, it was a similar size to the first one .  As i reached for the net there was a huge swirl where the fish was and i was gutted to see a very large Pike slowly swimming away with my Perch firmly clamped in its jaws. I was still connected to the Perch but there was always only going to be one winner in this tug of war and i was soon winding in minus my hook.
I retackled and stayed in the spot for another hour but unsurprisingly any remaining Perch had melted away and i had no more bites. The Sun was out in force now and i decided to call it a day happy that id finally had a half decent Perch from the Dove.

Well, thats another river season done and dusted . I really enjoyed the Chubbing and learnt a lot which will be put to use next season for sure. I didnt do nearly enough Perching and i wouldve liked to have done a bit more Barbel fishing but theres always next time around. Im looking forward to it already!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Roach, a mission accomplished

Friday 4th March - Sunday 6th March

This weekend was one that i had been waiting for with particular anticipation, 48hours of Roach fishing on a lake which would probably give me the best chance of landing a 2lb+ specimen that ive ever had in all my years of angling. Id heard about the place on the grapevine about 18 months ago and fellow SVSG member Rob had already been for a taster session last year, landing some cracking fish including a 2lber. The venue is a three hour drive from my house and with big Roach being a bit thin on the ground in my locality it was time to bite the bullet and get my arse down there.
Rob joined me for this one and we set off at 3.30am with the intention of arriving as the gates opened at 7. After an uneventful drive we arrived a bit earlier than expected which gave us a bit of time to walk around the lake and select a couple of likely swims. There had been a hard frost overnight but even so there was a few Roach topping in the middle which served boost the old confidence a bit. There was five Carp anglers on but they were still in bed so we couldnt tap them up for any info. Shortly afterwards the bailiff opened up and as we paid him he informed us that a 2lb Roach had been caught the previous weekend so there was one or two showing.
As we setup the sun made an appearance and the frost began to disappear quite quickly . I went about setting my house up first but Rob had his rods out before anything else and it paid off because he landed a 1lb9oz fish before id even cast in! "Good here innit?" he grinned.
After the early success there was no more action for an hour or so until my right hand rod signalled a bite and i ended up bumping the fish on the strike. We were both using bolt feeder rigs with tiny hooks and it soon became apparent that if we struck then the fish would invariably bump off as i found out to my cost on my next bite too. A gentle lift into the fish was what was called for and i soon landed a pristine bar of silver which weighed 1lb5oz, only an ounce off my pb!

With one apiece under our belts we settled down and concentrated on getting some bait out in front of us. All 4 rods were fished at the same range, about 30 yards, and spread along a strip about 30 yards long. We had a gallon of maggots between us and we were recasting the feeders every 20 minutes to build up a carpet of feed. Thankfully the lake only contains a few small Roach aswell has the big ones otherwise it could have been a bit of a nightmare fishing single maggots on the hook like we were doing. My next bite a couple of hours later turned out to be a new PB of 1lb7oz, it was another pristine specimen and i was over the moon!

A quickfire fish of 1lb4oz followed within minutes leaving me gobsmacked at the sheer size and quality of the fish present in this water. As the day began to turn to night, Rob had added a couple more pound plus fish to his tally and we both had a couple of tiddlers too. Rob assured me that the place really came alive at night and sure enough from about 7pm onwards we had several bites in quick succession.
I had another PB at 1lb8oz and Rob had a Stunning brace of 1lb13oz and 2lb3oz, the 2lber being a new PB for him. The sky was very clear and the weather was shaping up for another frost so it was really quite bitter and I finished the night off with a 3lb Carp before retiring to bed and warmth. At 3am i was awoken by a Carper in the peg next door who was trying to land a fish which had swam along the bank and through my line. It was quickly sorted though and i was soon taking pics of a nice 20lb Common. As a bonus though the sky had clouded up and the temperature was on the rise.

The next day began very slowly and after missing a bite first thing it was a couple of hours before i had another which resulted in another Carp hooked. This one was a bit bigger than my 3lber from the night before and i never really stood a chance with a size 18 hook and a 2lb bottom. Suffice to say it led me a merry dance before breaking me off. 
At about mid morning i hit into another Roach which felt a lot better than the others id had, taking line from the off. After a quick tussle it was obvious that this was a better fish and upon peering into the net i knew id finally caught what id came for. The scales registered 2lb2oz, i was blown away.

It was a magnificent fish in every way, and even as i write this now im still a bit shell shocked that ive caught a 2lber, happy days indeed.
Anyway, back to the session, that fish signalled the start of quite a lull and it was late afternoon before we started getting bites again. A flurry of tiny Roach saw us into darknes which is when once again Robs swim really came to the fore. He went on to land something like 20 more Roach over the pound mark between six and midnight, no more 2lbers though. I had a fish of 1lb10oz plus some tiddlers to round my day off .

After a good nights kip and an early rise it was time to pack up the gear ready for the long drive back. I recast the rods just before i started to tidy my stuff up in the hope of a last gasp lump. Once eveything had been put away i picked up my left hand rod and packed it away, just as i put it in the bag the other signalled a bite and i found myself connected to a Carp. With nothing to lose i decided to take my time with it on the light gear (2lb bottom) and couldnt believe it when i eventually landed it, a great way to end a great session!