Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Taking the hint

With it being a sunny bank holiday I had to think carefully about my choice of venue as everywhere would be pretty much packed. I had originally planned a night session on Redhouse lake, a large local pit with form for some big bream but due to the venues popularity with Carp anglers I figured it would be packed out with long weekenders. I wasn't wrong either! Reports filtered through that there was dozens fishing so that crossed that one off the list. Another lake nearby that's usually good for a day session was a non starter too as its in the middle of a housing estate and people's gardens back onto it. With the sunny weather I could almost smell the BBQs and hear the loud music echoing across the pool, sod that!

Locally that pretty much left me just the hard pit if I wanted another big Bream to add to last weeks haul at Haversham. With its recent form the chances of catching might be slim but at least I'd have the place to myself with plenty of peace and tranquility!

I got to the lake at first light and I barrowed my kit straight around to my favourite peg. The conditions were horrifically bright and the lake was flat calm, it didn't look good. It looked even worse when I got to the swim and found that a large tree had blown over right across it since my last visit making it completely unfishable! Due to the lakes overgrown nature, swims which enable you to reach certain areas are at a premium and this fallen tree had effectively blocked off about a quarter of the lake, the best quarter of the lake in my opinion!

I stood there feebly pulling at the tree whilst pondering my next move. I'd had a plan in my head of how was going to hit the lake as I drove there and now that was in tatters. Maybe it was a sign I should be elsewhere on the pool? At this point a Heron flying across the lake caught my eye, it alighted in the only fishable swim on the far bank and in an instant my mind was made up. If the fallen tree was a hint then so was the Heron! Fifteen minutes later I was stood in the Heron swim, sweating my ass off after fighting through the undergrowth and now surveying the water in front of me. As ever it looked dead.

A quick bit of marker float work showed an impressive drop off slap bang in front of me at about 40-50yards going from a steady 8ft on the right of me down to a flat 13ft on the left side over a distance of about ten yards, that'll do! I balled in around twenty jaffas across that line and cast a rod in at each end. The sun was really burning now and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

I set up my bedchair and got comfy, I was already well prepared for the blank especially after the last half a dozen I'd previously suffered on there! As I lay there catching the rays I suddenly became aware of a cool breeze starting to blow in, over the next hour it really began to gather strength, cloud too was coming in, things were looking up. Even though it was still very bright a good ripple can make all the difference and this ripple was certainly a goodun!

My left hand rod in the deeper water suddenly burst into life and signalled a stuttery take. Even as I picked the rod up I was scanning the water for signs of tufties just in case but upon striking I knew I'd finally hooked a Bream and it didn't feel like a bad fish either. Seeing the big hump back roll out in the waves certainly got the excitement going and I have to admit that after all the effort I've gone through previously on the lake I was actually shaking as I slid the net under the fish! The relief was immense!

It wasn't quite a double at 9lb10oz but to be honest it didn't matter, I'd finally got one on the scoresheet and I was over the moon. I set the camera up to take some pics and ,unbelievably, I'd literally only taken one photo when my right hand rod decided to go into meltdown! I was forced to quickly slip the Bream back and hit it. There was nothing there! It was a similar story to some of the bites/liners we'd had on Haversham the week before. To make matters worse the one pic I'd got of the Bream I'd just had was absolutely god awful, the camera was at the wrong angle to the direction of the sun making everything appear white, gutted!

I recast both rods and within minutes I hooked another Bream, this time it was probably the smallest in the lake at about 3lb. A couple more savage liners occurred over the next hour before I hit into another fish of around 7lb. I couldn't believe I was fishing the same lake, I'd had more action in an hour than I'd had in my last six trips!
I obviously had a few fish on the bait but apart from the action on the rods you would never have known it. Not a single fish had showed, no rolling, bubbling, nothing whatsoever. The bobbins didn't stay still for more than ten minutes and two more Bream followed in quick succession. I didn't weigh them but neither were bigger than 7-8lb, not that I was complaining! A lost fish shortly afterwards seemed to quieten things off a bit. One thing I did notice was that all of the fish I'd landed so far had been males covered in tubercles, I actually cut myself on one of them.
At lunchtime I hit into another substantial fish which was certainly no Bream, this one took line! My first thoughts were of Tench but when a Pike suddenly burst out of the water tailwalking in front of me I was certainly a little surprised! I didn't think I'd land it but I thought I'd give it a go anyway seeing as it had stayed on for so long already. I eventually netted it to find the hook was neatly out of harms way in the scissors and quite why it decided to pick up three red maggots is beyond me but at 10lb on the nose I'm to going to look a gift horse in the mouth!
An hour later I managed to hook and lose a nice looking Tench at the net which was a bit disappointing as they run to a good size in there. That pretty much rounded the session off because I had all but ran out of bait. I left with plans to return the following day......
...... Plans which never came to fruition. I awoke the following morning to torrential rain and seeing as the hard water involves a pretty brutal walk through waist deep foliage, I couldn't muster up the motivation to attempt it. I'd have been soaked before I even started and decided to hold off till next week in the hope they'd still be having it.
A snap decision to go Carping on another local pool saw me back on the bank again. A couple of laps of the lake revealed a few small carp moving in one corner and not much else so I setup nearby to allow me to put a bait on them. A screaming take after an hour showed me just how small they were as a little mirror of about 4lb found itself on the mat, obviously one of the new stockies. It saved a blank though bless it and after losing a Tench in a weedbed I decided to head home to the dry as it hadn't stopped chucking it down all morning.


Sunday, 19 May 2013

A Result at last

This weeks session was one I'd been looking forward to for a while and was to be the first two night trip I'd had since last years Orchid Trip. Catfish were originally on the menu for this trip too as I'd arranged to join the lads from the Milton Keynes specialist group for a get together on Great Linfords Parc farm 2 lake. Everything was all set until around two weeks ago when we found out that we had double booked with a help for heroes fish- in on the same pool and as such a change of venue and species was called for. A fortunate turn of events kicked in at this point and It just so happened that a friend of mine had just had a nice catch of big Bream from a water called Haversham lake just up the road from Parc farm 2. I knew that some of the MKSG lads were on the syndicate there and seeing as my Bream head is well and truly on at the moment I suggested a possible trip there instead. A guest trip was quickly arranged and before I knew it I was meeting MKSG member Paul Howkins at the gates to the fishery full of anticipation at what the next couple of days might hold.

At around 65 acres its not a small lake but its extremely well maintained and with the Great Ouse flowing alongside it makes for an awesome setting in which to wet a line. It's a tricky water and I was under no illusion that a blank might possibly be on the cards, in fact Paul informed me that a chap had just done a three day session on there without a bite prior to our arrival. nevertheless we headed around to Pauls fancied area and got setup. The next couple of hours were a flurry of tying rigs, preparing bait and spombing the hell out of the lake. It wasn't in vain though as fish began to show in front of us almost straight away.

It didn't take long for the first line bite to occur and what a liner it was, we both thought it was a proper bite but Paul struck into thin air. This set the precedent for pretty much the rest of the day. Paul's swim seemed to be alive with fish and some of the line bites he had actually had the bait runner spinning! I too struck at thin air on several occasions, it was proving to be very frustrating!

I should mention that although we didn't catch any fish early on, Paul managed to hook and land a PB Grebe! Neither of us had ever seen such an occurrence before but after a few dicey moments trying to avoid its razor sharp beak it was quickly released without harm. This wasn't to be the only avian encounter of the session but more on that later.

By late afternoon the novelty of the line bites had well and truly worn off for both of us so I was taken somewhat by surprise when I hit a particularly violent liner and met solid resistance! A typical Bream tussle ensued with much head nodding on the fishes part and not much else and soon my first Haversham Bream was lying on the mat. At 6lb12oz it was quite possibly one of the smallest in there but I'd dodged the blank and the pressure was off! The fish was rough as sandpaper and went some way towards explaining why the line bites were so pronounced, the fishes body was a line magnet!

The liners continued unabated and the Bream continued to porpoise out in front of us. Eventually I managed to hit into another fish which went 8lb on the scales, at least they were getting bigger! After that the lake went flat calm and darkness fell. Still the liners continued! We couldn't for the life of us understand why we weren't catching more fish as there was obviously an awful lot of them out there.

We didn't get much sleep with the buzzers sounding every twenty minutes and it must've been around midnight when Paul latched into his first fish of the trip, an absolute cracker of exactly 12lb, again covered from head to toe in tubercles. The rest of the night passed fairly uneventfully apart from the wind swinging around directly towards us, it was bloody freezing!

When dawn broke the next day the fish had completely stopped showing but we still had the odd liner so there was fish in front of us still. This was borne out when I hooked another fish, this one definitely felt heavier and I was pleased to net my first double of the session at 10lb8oz, they were getting bigger!

This seemed to really kick things off in front of us as over the next few hours we landed a succession of fish between us. The sailing boats were going right over our baits and we were still getting bites. After a night of very little sleep I was knackered and really ready for a good kip but it seemed every time I tried to get my head down something would happen to stop it. At one point, I was just drifting off when my buzzers went mad, I jumped out expecting some fish action and was surprised to find that a low flying Tern had somehow managed to hang itself in my line. This one was much more flappy and pointy than the Grebe so it was some relief when it managed to free itself as we got it to the bank.

Over the course of the day I managed another five Bream, two Perch and a stockie Carp of around 4lb, Paul also managed a Carp, a Bream, a couple of Perch to 2lb12oz and a surprise Rudd. Paul has fished the lake for a long time and has never seen or heard of a Rudd being caught and at around 12oz it wasn't exactly tiny either so it could bode well for the waters future. The carp were a bit random aswell seeing there was only 50 stocked earlier this year. The odds of catching two of them in 65acres of water must be pretty slim I'd have thought? It was Another of the days happy coincidences anyway and considering 24 hours previously I was braced for a blank it had become a blinding session. A 9lb10oz Bream to my rod brought the days activities to a close at around teatime and we had no more action going into the night.

I awoke the next day having had a much better nights kip, the liners had completely stopped and the fish weren't showing at all. I recast and then had some breakfast, the lake was very misty but flat calm and the sun was just starting to appear behind the tree tops.

The lack of action in the night made me think that the lake had given us all it was going to but suddenly a couple of bleeps on my left hander and a slight twitch on the bobbin had me bending into another Bream. It didn't look much bigger than the previous fish in the water but upon getting it on the mat it was obvious that I was looking at a very good fish indeed. I weighed it on my light scales which go up to 12lb and was stunned to see them bottom out! I wound them back a pound and reweighed to record 12lb14oz, two other sets of scales gave the same result and new PB was in the bag, over the moon was an understatement!

After the action over the last day it was almost like the lake had saved the best till last and that fish was meant to be. As it turned out That wasn't to be the last of it though. I recast the rod to the same spot and as I set my bobbin the line suddenly pinged out of my fingers, I must've cast right on the fishes head! I struck and soon enough another decent looking slab was rolling into the net. At 10lb8oz it crowned the session off nicely.

A mid morning Perch was the last bite I had before packing up time and I was well chuffed with our result. It had been a great session in great company, Pauls a top bloke and I can't thank him enough for giving me the opportunity to fish the lake. Catching some doubles was nice but to get a new PB into the bargain was way more than I'd hoped for. Definitely a trip ill remember for a long time to come.

As bit of a footnote, seeing as we were there, Paul took me to have a look at the Ouse at Adams mill after we'd packed up. What a stunning piece of water it is and much smaller than I imagined it to be. Paul talked me through some of the swims and historical captures and Its easy to see why it used to be such a special place. You couldn't ask for a more Barbelly piece of water and its an absolute tragedy that the Otters decimated the place, we didn't see a single fish of any description whilst we were there, not even a Minnow.


Monday, 6 May 2013

No light at the end of the tunnel, yet

These blog posts are getting all too infrequent these days although to be fair I've not had anything of interest to blog about. Since my last entry I've had four trips to my new Bream water and apart from losing one three trips in, I'm yet to bank a fish of any description from there. Nobody else is on the pit so I can't gage my results against those of other anglers and the fish hardly seem to even show themselves so confidence is becoming a real issue for me.

I'm fishing the unknown and all I have to on is the word of a good mate who discovered the water a couple of years ago and some tantalising pictures of what he caught. Theres nothing whatsover on the internet about the lake and even the locals who fish a couple of ponds nearby swear blind the lake is barren of fish and not worth bothering with. The fact I've had the whole pit to myself on every visit so far despite the warm conditions speaks volumes and The whole thing has been made ever more difficult due the fact that other waters are switching on good and proper now with some great catches coming from all over the place. The temptations there to go elsewhere but all my efforts so far will have been in vain if I do that so I need to focus on the job at hand.

Because of the lakes remoteness there is never a shortage of wildlife to look out for down there but I did spot something unusual the other day. There was a black shape swimming right across the middle of the lake and the geese seemed very agitated by it. There were all following it about twenty yards behind making a hell of a racket, at first I thought it was an Otter but it seemed a bit too small and I can only conclude instead that it was a large Mink. It was right out in the middle of the lake and I had to use the camera on full zoom to get any kind if picture. It was strange because I've never seen one swim across such a distance of open water like that before.

Spotted at 90 yards, Is it a Mink or the Loch Ness monster?
The lake has also given me several encounters of the tufted kind aswell and the one in the pic below really had me thinking I'd hooked a bream until it surfaced at my feet. The bloody things must have gills considering the amount of time they can stay underwater!
These have been a bit of a pain lately!
Before moving on its worth mentioning a new bit of kit I've recently discovered from the Nash stable. It's called the Nash Deliverance ball maker and I've acquired the 40mm version, it takes loads of hassle out of making 'jaffas' to ball in when baiting up and because it makes them all the same size it's easier to group the balls into a tight area with catapult, very useful indeed.

Trouble free balls!

For my most recent session I was given a pass to night fish and seeing as nights aren't allowed on my new water I decided to fish a lake on my club ticket. Upon arriving though it was bivvy city as every man and his dog were out taking advantage of the great bank holiday weather. The lake next door was completely free however and after being joined by Phil we opted to fish there instead. Some good bags of bream have been caught in the past there yet its very very underfished and is another water which has a reputation for holding very little, a reputation that's thoroughly undeserved I feel.
I opted for a boilie approach over my usual maggot one because there are quite a few small roach and perch in there and I didn't want to be winding those in at 3am!
Fish began to show in numbers as soon as the light began to go and there looked to be one or two nice Tench amongst the Bream aswell. It wasn't long before I began to get some really strong liners and some actually pulled line off the baitrunner and had me striking at thin air. I really had to sit on my hands and a proper bite finally occurred at around 10pm which resulted in a Bream of around 4-5lb.
The liners continued and kept me awake most of the night until i lost a fish to a snag in the very early hours after which they seemed to tail off a bit. I did eventually manage to get a little sleep but was soon awoken at first light by a turbo charged Tench which was more fin than fish and would've struggled to go much more than 3lb but it was in great condition though.
After that I noticed the Bream were rolling much further up the lake and some them looked quite sizeable. I didn't hold out much hope for any more bites so I had a pot noodle and went back to bed. The sun was well up by the time I was jolted back to reality by another bite. A slightly better bream of 6-7lb was soon landed and brought my session to a close. After my struggles on the other pit it was nice to see the bobbins moving again anyway, back to reality next week though, bring it on!
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