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.