Sunday, 30 October 2011

About time we had an update ......

Ive not been out a great deal since my last entry, twice to be exact, but ive still been catching a few despite the weather starting to turn a little colder. I dont know if its just me but Autumn seems to have started very abruptly. That heatwave at the start of the month kind of lured us into a false sense of security and all of a sudden now the trees are losing their leaves extremely quickly and the lakes and rivers have a distinct wintery feel to them.

On Friday 21st I had an after work trip to a club water with a proven reputation for some very large Perch . Even though ive had the ticket for nigh-on six months this was to be my first visit and i had high hopes. I found a nice looking swim with some large beds of Canadian pondweed to fish too and started plumbing the depth. It was soon apparent it was very deep for a tiny pool and i had 9feet under the rod tip. My intention was to floatfish Lobworms and see what came along, the pool holds a lot of small Carp and i was hoping they wouldnt be too troublesome.
After 10minutes i had a sail-away bite and connected to a nice fish, i was surprised when a Chub of about 2lb was netted. Another half a dozen of these followed to well over 4lb aswell as a Carp of about 3lb but the Perch were conspicuous by their absence.
A switch to maggot brought a string of Roach, Rudd and Crucians, i also had a couple of small Perch to about 8oz too. I only had a couple of hours of daylight left and i was just reeling in yet another tiny Roach when all of a sudden there was a big swirl behind it. I lowered it back in and just as it disappeared into the murk there was a heavy thump on the rod and my line started to steadily pull out towards the middle of the lake.
Obviously i didnt stand a chance on a size 18 hook which was already in the Roach but i struck and the rod hooped over savagely before springing straight leaving me with a very tattered and very dead Roach. So they wanted a bait with a bit more wriggle did they?
Within 5 minutes another roach was being lowered in, this one however was liphooked on a size 4 and suspended beneath a chubber float. It barely had time to settle before it shot off and my strike met with a bumped fish.
Cursing my luck i hooked up another Roach and once again it was taken on the drop . There was no messing this time around and a Perch of about 2lb was soon bristling indignantly in the bottom of the net. This was followed about 10 minutes later by another one of a similar size. Another bumped fish and a missed run occured before it got too dark to see any more . I packed up having taken something like 25lb of fish and my appetite for another trip there was well and truly whetted . I had left my camera in my other kit bag so there are no pics to remember the session by unfortunately!

The following day i attended the annual Milton Keynes Specimen Group bash and as ever it was another good-un. Mick brown was the guest speaker for the evening and he did a great job of keeping us all entertained with his slide-show and fishy ramblings. It was nice to catch up with a few old aquaintances aswell as meeting one or two new ones and I even won a tacklebox system in the raffle too which was a nice bonus!

My most recent session was spent chasing Pike and i gotta say it was pretty tough going . I covered a lot of water over a good couple of miles and despite starting at first light it wasnt until mid afternoon when i had my first pickup. The water was painfully clear and as I twitched my bait for the umpteenth time that day i noticed a decent looking fish glide in and turn away from it at the last minute. It stopped sideways on about 6 ft away from the bait eying it up. I twitched it again and the Pike turned, another twitch and with a gentle flick of its tail it sidled up to the bait and engulfed it in one fluid movement. After a bit of gill flaring it turned and i struck, the rod hooped over and after a very energetic battle which involved lots of tailwalking i slipped the net under a very lean and mean 12lber.

A move to another swim followed and as i prepped a rod to be cast out i glanced into the water and froze. A Pike of similar size to the first had literally just taken up residence in the margin to my left and, sensing an opportunity, i slowly turned  and picked up the now baited rod and gently lowered it in about 3feet away from the fish. The Pikes fins visibly bristled and it moved very slowly towards the bait which was now resting on the bottom . 
After staring at it for what seemed like an age the Pike flared its gills as if it was trying to blow the bait up off the bottom. The bait moved a little and the fish ever-so-gently mouthed it before a final flare of the gills saw it disappear from view. I struck and the fish twisted and rolled on the spot for a split second before spitting my dead Roach back at me  and shooting off leaving a shower of silvery scales shimmering in the water in its wake, gutted.
I stayed put in the same spot and kept a bait in the margins. After a while a jack of about 3lb showed up and started examining the bait. It obviously didnt like what it saw though and slowly swam away out of sight. Five minutes later after i had sat back down, the float bobbed under and stayed under. I stood up for a peek and was surprised to see that what looked like my lost fish had returned and was sat there shaking its head with my bait in its mouth! no wonder that jack didnt hang around! I struck and had a repeat performance of the first round, it had gotten away yet again! I packed up after that with plenty of food for thought and plans to return for some more 'sight' fishing very soon!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Blenheim blank and some Dove respite

Sunday 16th October

As i mentioned in my last entry i had a boat booked at Blenheim palace lake for this weekend with my old mucker Phil. We set off from mine at 5.15am with the intention of arriving lakeside at around 7ish and despite being very foggy all the way down there we made good time. The punt was fully loaded and cast off by 7.30 but if anything the fog had got thicker and we couldnt see more than 30yards ahead of us. Because of this we opted to head for some snags just up the bank from the boathouse until we could see a bit more and work out our options. There was 13 boats out in total so competition for spots was quite high.

A foggy start

The lake slowly began to reveal itself as the fog lifted and what a view it was! Blenheim is an absolutely stunning water and im sure anybody else who has visited it will surely agree. The only thing which marred it somewhat was the seemingly hundreds of Cormorants adorning pretty much every tree around the lake. The waters biomass mustve been huge at some point to support that many birds but ive a feeling the place is all but denuded of small to mid-sized fish nowadays. Ill certainly never moan about seeing the odd Cormorant on the Trent again after seeing the size of  Blenheims population! 
Once we anchored up and commenced fishing, it didnt take long for another of the lakes problems to manifest itself as Phils floatfished lobworm was quickly snaffled by a bloody Crayfish,  this was gonna be another grueller........

I wish Cormorants would eat these buggers!

Phil missed a couple of other bites and i still hadnt had a sniff by the time the sun came up proper so we decided upon a move. All the well known areas were occupied by other boats and there was even two groups of anglers bank fishing so we headed to the bay on the opposite side to the boathouse away from the crowds. After another Crayfish and having some other chaps move in on us we saw that the area around the grand bridge had become free so we headed there.

The Grand bridge

Although ive fished the lake before ive never fished around the bridge as its always been stitched up and upon our arrival there i was struck by how shallow it is. We moored to the right of the main arch and the lakebed was clearly visible.
The sun was now well and truly up and it was actually starting to get really warm. The fishing wasnt though and we sat there for a biteless couple of hours, not even seeing the slightest sign of a fish, before we decided to head back to the area we had begun in. At least the grebes had been catching the odd tiddler back there!
We moored up in the same spot and commenced some hard fishing, floatfished lobs to the snags and floatfished deadbaits along the bank either end of the boat.

The boathouse in the afternoon sunshine

We both had a few suspicious crayfish type knocks and twitches as the afternoon wore on . My pike float eventually went under  at about 4ish but i struck into nothing, the bait looked like the crays had been at that too. As the light began to go and the other boats began to come in i finally had a proper bite on the worm, the float shot away and i went to strike only to find my line caught under the rope-tie thingy on the edge of the boat and i promptly missed it!
We fished on until dusk for no more action so we headed back in. We were the second from last in and the guy in the boathouse told us that only one 9lb Pike had been caught all day from all the other boats that had already come in. It had fished pretty tough then by all accounts but im looking forward to going back next year already!

Monday 17th October

I had today booked off work as a backup plan to catch something should Blenheim not work out. It didnt so i decided to head out for my first Perching trip to the river Dove this season . After last seasons results there i was fully prepared for another grueller but im a glutton for punishment and theres something about fishing for Perch there that really gets my juices going.
Last season taught me a great deal about the areas where Dove Perch tend to frequent and im convinced, certainly in the areas ive been fishing, that there are only several small groups of  fish in any given stretch. They certainly arnt in every swim like they are in the Trent, Derwent and Soar, there just isnt enough of them in the Dove.
With this in mind i decided to start in a swim ive caught from before and work my way from there. Out went the worm and after about half an hour of steadily feeding maggots over the top i had a bite which nearly pulled the rod off the rest! I couldnt believe i missed it! the fish had switched on though and, on my next put in, another wrap around bite resulted in a fat Perch which was just shy of 2lb. I missed one more bite over the next half hour before deciding a move was in order.
I headed just upstream and i had a 2lb fish before id even put any loosefeed in! No more bites were forthcoming after that so i upped sticks to look for another swim.


My next swim was one ive fished several times before yet ive never had a bite there. It looks bang-on for a Perch and ive never understood why its never produced for me but on this occasion the wind was howling down the river and this swim offered me a bit of shelter.
I was only going to give it half an hour, more to give me a break from the wind than anything else, so i was more than surprised when the tip pulled around and i hooked what felt like a decent fish. Unfortunately the knot on the hook went but i was soon cast back in with renewed enthusiasm for the swim. A couple of gentle taps had me striking into another Perch and there was no mistakes with this one, the scales read 2lb6oz.


I returned the fish about 40 yards downstream and after hooking two in the swim already i expectantly made another cast. I trickled in half a dozen maggots every couple of minutes until once again the tip juddered slightly before gently pulling around. Another one in the net, 2lb4oz this time.


The rest of the shoal had obviously melted away after that because i couldnt get another sniff . The weather too had closed in by now and, not wanting to get a soaking, i headed for home.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A belated update

Ive just realised that my blog is becoming somewhat neglected at the minute . This is due to several reasons but thats not to say that i havent been fishing, far from it in fact. Ive been out a few times and caught a good few fish, nothing spectacular but its been enjoyable.

I had a trip to the Derbyshire Derwent with the lure rod one evening and, after catching several small perch, i hit a nice Pike only to have it spit my lure back at me after a brief tussle. A change of lure saw me get another pull shortly afterwards which resulted in a fish of around 11-12lb.

A Bream trip on a local club lake proved to be an interesting day out . The bream werent obliging in the slightest but i did end up catching a shed load of perch thanks to a bit of opportunistic angling.  In front of me I saw loads of Perch in the margins and everytime i threw in a few maggots they were on them like piranhas. Firstly there was about a half a dozen tiddlers and after half an hour or so i had 20-30 better fish competing for the maggots. It was fascinating stuff watching the swim build before my eyes!

I didnt have any float gear so i locked a flouro pop-up on the line with some leger stops and tied a size 18 to a length of 2lb line. Two maggots were put on the hook and the rig was lowered in amongst the shoal. Within seconds a fish grabbed the bait and when i got it out i was surprised because it was way bigger than it looked in the water. I put it at about 2-3oz as it approached the bait but in my hand it was about 6! I went on to catch one after another for the next half hour including one which i caught, put back and then watched it swim up to the bait and take it again imediately!! The biggest i landed was about a pound or so.
Strange as it may sound, i could tell which ones were going to take the bait because they approached it in a completely different manner to the ones which would swim up and inspect it before ignoring it. I added a tiny shot to the line to make it sink a bit quicker but after this the bait was completely ignored, once i took it off i started catching again.
One or two roach made an appearance but they were very shy compared to the perch and tended to shoot in out of nowhere before disappearing again just as quickly.
The water was deceptively deep, i was fishing about 2ft and the fish were swimming up vertically off the bottom. I plumbed it at 6ft yet it didnt look much more than 3ft!

A couple of trips to the Trent quivertipping lobworms and bread followed and once again a lot of Perch were caught aswell as some decent Chub and Roach. The god awful weed is still bad but everything is starting to turn towards winter now so hopefully it wont be around for too much longer.

Im looking forward to next week as, inspired by Jeffs, Keiths and Lees antics in their blogs (see the list to the right) i decided to book onto Blenhiem palace lake before the weather turns too cold. Ive fished it before but only when its been really cold and ive struggled somewhat, lets hope its a bit better this time around .......