Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Last one of 2014

I've been all too aware that my posts have been most infrequent of late and I've decided that I really must try harder in 2015. As usual , life has gotten in the way and my blog has really been overlooked this year as is obvious from looking at my annual post count compared to previous years.

So what have I been up to since my last update? Well, the lure thing has continued it's hold over me and the back end of November saw me taking part in the Perch fishing trials on Blithfield res in the company of Steve Collett. We were quite lucky weatherwise and although it was chilly it wasn't too windy so we managed to set up some lovely drifts.

The bottom of that lake must be carpeted with Perch in much the same way that Rutland is heaving with Zander! We had loads of action dropshotting tiny lures in around 30-40ft of water, fish to mid-2 pulled our strings and I even managed a rogue trout. The average size wasn't great but it was good practice and you never knew what size was going hit the lure next. Heres a few pics anyway;

A jig fishing session on the Soar followed on from Blithfield and although it took me a while to find some fish, when I did it got hectic! I managed around 20 perch and a couple of jacks in the space of an hour or so. A few days later we had some hefty rainfall and that put paid to my river chances for the rest of December to date.

It got cold aswell and I thought that would be it on the lure front but an afternoon session on a local pool yielded a few small Perch to ultra-tiny grub type lures which was encouraging especially as the pool is noted for switching off once the weather cools.

It occurred to me I'd not done any chub fishing this winter and I found myself with a hankering to get out and quivertip some bread. I really couldn't muster up any enthusiasm to fish my usual haunts even though I knew I'd get a few and be in with a chance of a lump. I had a look through some of my club tickets to see what else was about and soon found a couple of interesting leads. One was a small river and the other a brook, both held Chub that much was certain but I'd never even seen either before let alone fished them, my angling juices were well and truly intrigued.

The river was up first and upon our arrival I was a little disappointed to see it coloured and it looked to be carrying a few inches too. It looked pretty damn Chubby though and it was also deceptively deep, my first swim being around 5-6ft. It was also surprisingly lacking in the fish department too as one missed bite in the first hour testified! It was bitterly cold though so I wasn't expecting to set records.

A move upstream was called for and after a passing dog walker informed us we were wasting our time 'cos the Cormorants and Otters have wiped the place out' Phil and I weren't exactly stoked with confidence! Our main problem was finding potential fish holding swims because there was long stretches of fast shallow water and it seemed all the deeper slower areas were overgrown with trees and unfishable. We did manage to find a couple of swims in the end though and I caught four small Chub which proved there was still fish there afterall!

After that we retired to the warmth of the truck and headed 20miles up the road into Derbyshire and the brook we had our eye on. This proved to be much the same as the river in width and colour but was much shallower. Again we struggled to find some fish and it wasn't until the last couple of swims we tried when we started to catch. I only managed a Roach and a couple of Chub but I felt I'd really had to work for them that's for sure!

The most recent trip was to commercial in search of Perch and although I planned to bait fish I also look the lure rod along just in case! It was wasn't cold but it was windy and after trying the dropshot for nothing more than a couple of taps I switched to worm and prawn. A couple of carp hooked early on certainly pulled my string but the perch were noticeable by their absence.

I switched back to the dropshot gear and managed to catch a couple of tiddlers and aswell as getting a few other enquiries but it proved to be exceptionally snaggy where they were so I gave it up as a bad job and carried on with the bait fishing. I used worms only seeing as the prawns were carp magnets and eventually managed to snare a nice Perch of a tad over 2lb.

So that's about it for 2014, not a bad year but not exactly exceptional either. I do have a couple of trips planned before the new year so hopefully I'll have something to blog about next time! In the meantime, merry Christmas everybody and have a happy new year!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Autumn sessions

Since my last entry I've done quite a bit of fishing, in fact , as I sit here and write I'm struggling to remember it all! The weather has definately taken a turn for the worse of late and autumn is well and truly upon us. For the most part I've been doing a lot of lure fishing as that side of things seems to have taken on a whole new lease of life for me, more on that shortly however. In the meantime to kick things off I'll talk a little bit about a grayling session on the Dove around three weeks ago.

As expected, Phil and I had the whole stretch to ourselves upon our arrival and the fishing started off in a promising way with a lovely Chub falling to phils rod within minutes. After that we really struggled in a couple of swims which was quite surprising really as the fish seemed quite active. A strong and cold wind got up which didn't help the situation but eventually I found a swim where I could sit with my back to it. Bites were hard to come by to begin with but I was reluctant to move and decided to stay put and keep the feed going in. This soon began to pay off as a succession of small grayling and trout steadily came to my rod. After an hour or so I suddenly realised my catch rate was really picking up as was the size of the fish, the more maggots I put in the river the more I was catching. It was one those times when everything seems to fall into place and a nice rhythm was established, cast, bait,wait 30secs, catch, cast, bait, wait 30secs,catch, lovely!

Every fish I caught was full of maggots so they were obviously really having it, even a flotilla of passing canoes didn't dampen their appetite! I lost count of how many I caught, grayling nudging 2lb and trout to over 3lb all came to the net over the next couple of hours before, eventually, I managed to exhaust my maggot supply and was forced to pack up. Nothing big was caught but it was a great days fishing and the beautifully marked trout in the pic below was probably my favourite fish of the trip, a proper wild stunner!


After that trip I had a bit of a mishap with my car exhaust so decided to book a day off work to sort it out with a view to maybe squeeze some fishing in aswell. As you probably know by now, I like to lure fish whenever I get a limited window to fish as this technique requires absolutely no preparation and you are fishing the second the lure hits the water. Today was no exception and I headed to a local canal with nothing more than a few bits to do some dropshotting.

The water was fairly murky but it didn't take long to find a few Perch, only little ones but plenty of them. I found the best lure was a little panic minnow but it was the last I had and I was gutted when something nipped the tail of it! It did some damage of its own though as you can see below.


The pike seemed very active today for some reason aswell and they took a liking to the dropshot lures.


After catching a couple of jacks and getting bitten off I decided to incorporate a trace into my rig. This had the instant effect of putting the perch off but I still managed a couple more pike including a nice one which must've been approaching double figures.



After that I headed back to pick up the car well pleased with the mornings action. I did have another dropshotting session on a local pool a couple of days later and managed another load of small perch. The water was crystal clear and it was great fun watching the perch attack the lure, such aggressive little buggers!

The next fishing trip proper was to a large reservoir with Roach being the target. Despite it only being a short distance from home I'd never fished it before so was totally unsure as to what to expect other than that the roach averaged a good size.

It was absolutely chucking it down when we arrived but even so the lake itself was still very low after the long dry summer. My chosen spot wasn't any different in looks to any other swim for 500yards in either direction but there was fish showing within casting range so that was good enough for me!

I fished two maggot bolt feeder rigs at around 50yards range and the plan was to keep recasting both rods every 5mins until a good bed of bait was built up and hopefully the roach came on the feed.

Fortunately it didn't take long to start getting bites and soon the fish were coming thick and fast. I was really pleased with the average size aswell with most fish being between 6-12oz and a nice sprinkling of pound plussers chucked in for good measure.

I was playing the numbers game to try and snare a 2lber but there was just too many smaller samples in my swim. I ended up with somewhere around 30lb of roach I'd say with the biggest I weighed going 1lb5oz. I have no doubt that 2lbers exist in the lake but it'd take a lot of fishing to find one given just how stuffed the place is! A water I'll revisit with different tactics next time I feel.
Since the roach trip I've been pretty much 100% lure fishing or more specifically, Ultra light lure fishing. I met up with well known angler and lure fishing guru Steve Collett who has kindly been showing me the ropes with the whole U/L concept.
Tiny lures, fine wire hooks, pencil thin rods and miniature reels are all part and parcel of this style of fishing and some of the tips and edges that Steve has passed on have been real eye openers. Balanced tackle which allows you to see and feel even the shyest of bites is the key to getting the most out of U/L as is technique. After seeing Steve in action I realise what a newbie I am to lure fishing and how much scope I have to refine and improve my technique, it's like a hidden world has been opened up to me!
Another major thing which Steve has helped me to overcome is my reluctance to lure fish coloured water. I always had a mental block about chucking lures about in coloured water thinking if the fish can't see it then they won't take it, how wrong I was! An adjustment in technique and the confidence to keep plugging away was all that was needed and after witnessing Steve catch a zander in the most coloured water you could imagine I set about trying to catch one of my own.
In the end it took a couple of trips but catch one I did and, although it was small, I can't overstate the significance of the fish in terms of confidence building. I feel ready to take on the entire midlands canal network now! my next blank trip will certainly send me crashing back down to earth but there are exciting times ahead I feel.



Thursday, 23 October 2014

Fishing frustration and food for thought

I managed a couple of trips to the bankside this week the first being a session on my local soar chasing Pike. The area I fished is one which has rapidly become a favourite pike spot of mine being fairly prolific with the chance of a big fish thrown in for good measure. It was Saturday morning and I was surprised to find I had the whole stretch to myself so I headed straight for my favourite spot.

The river was still pretty coloured from the rain of the previous week but having caught from the stretch in the past in even more turbid conditions I was fairly confident of some action. It didn't take long to get a couple of sardines into position and it took even less time to put a fish on the bank because, almost Imediately, I had a bite and duly landed a feisty jack of about 5-6lb.

Half an hour later I managed a second fish and was hopeful of a good day, that is until the rowing boats from the boat club upstream started coming through. I've fished the area a good few times now and even though many boats have come past me during that time I've never had an issue with them until this time around. One pair came past so close they actually clipped my rod tips with their oars! Another half a dozen came by and decided that the water in front of me would be a good place to turn their flotilla around and have a good shouty chat. Needless to say I soon moved!


The new swim was right in the teeth of the prevailing wind but was much wider and offered some distance between me and any passing rowers. Unfortunately my time there was short lived as several bleeps and pulls on the line alerted me to some heavy crayfish activity. This was proved when the first rod I reeled in had nothing but a fish skeleton on the end and the the second rod had one of the pesky crustaceans still hanging onto it!


Another move was called for and again this was to be short lived aswell. A lovely cast between two boats next to a willow tree was ruined when a chap in a rowing dinghy decided to pull into the gap to carry out some noisy boat maintenance right on top of my bait. A couple of minutes later a narrowboat came up along the nearside bank so close it wiped both my rods out. This was getting ridiculous!


Seeing the rowing boats from the club had all but disappeared by now I headed back up to my original area just in time to see another narrowboat minus it's crew come drifting aimlessly around the corner upstream. The crew of the boat were running along the bank desperately trying to snare it as they had obviously all jumped off and forgotten to tie it up! A chap from a nearby boatyard managed to secure it in the end using his own boat as an impromptu boom across the river which enabled the crew to get back on board their runaway vessel.


All this took place about 50 yards upstream of my spot so as you can imagine I wasn't confident of any action! Seeing as I'd been dropped off I had no choice but to fish on until my lift arrived and after another hour or so it seemed things had calmed down a bit. This was to be proved right when my upstream rod signalled a last gasp take just before i packed up and I duly landed another pike, this one a little bit bigger than the others from earlier.


My plans for the Sunday changed suddenly and I found myself with an extra chance to go fishing. I wasn't sure what to go for or where to fish so I rang my old mukka Phil to see what he was up to. It turned out he was headed over to the canal to try for a net of silvers and to be honest, after the boat experiences of the previous day, I really didn't fancy going through it again on a cut which is even busier than the river! With a lack of better ideas though on my part he managed to twist my arm by mentioning the immortal words "big Perch". Dammit, resistance was futile!

Now I'd never fished there with lobworms before to target the Perch and this was going to be a bit a leap into the unknown as the place has no track record of big perch because pretty much nobody fishes it (certainly not in the area we headed for) so nobody knows!

I'd managed to collect a few lobs over the previous damp evenings and certainly had a sessions-worth at my disposal. A pint of red maggots completed the bait arsenal and soon enough I was setting up in a likely spot. Pretty much the whole far bank looked the same so I picked a swim which didn't look too snaggy and gave me an easy cast to an overhanging elderberry bush which might offer some shelter to a big stripey or two.

The floating leaves looked a nightmare for float fishing so I opted for a light quivertip and began to get pulls and knocks right from the first cast. Within minutes I landed the first of a succession of small perch between 6-12oz, at least there was a few fish about which was good news anyway.

The boats on the canal were a stark contrast to those on the river on my last trip. Every one,without exception, was courteous and mindful of the fact we were fishing, staying to the middle track and slowing down for us. Most said hello and we even shared a bit of light-hearted banter, if only all boaters could be like those on the Trent and Mersey!

Anyway back to the fishing and after a couple of hours things had slowed to a standstill so I decided to try twitching the worm every couple of minutes. This had an instant effect and soon I hooked a perch of slightly more substantial proportions. At 2lb2oz it was no monster but for me it was quite a significant fish as it told me that there might be considerably more to the canal than meets the eye, certainly from a Perching perspective anyway.

After that bites on the tip became even harder to come by so decided to try a Floatfished lob along my nearside margin. Again it was slow but a couple of knocks and dips on the float told me there was a few about. After missing a couple of proper bites I managed to connect with what I'm almost certain was a nice silver bream getting on for a pound. I've since counted the scales along the lateral line and checked several other tell-tale features and am satisfied it's a true 'silver'.

I managed another identical sample shortly afterwards so it wasn't a fluke and got me thinking about what the canal could offer in terms of these little fish aswell as the Perch? Another half decent perch put in an appearance after that last bream then the spot went stone dead. I couldn't raise so much as a twitch for a good twenty minutes before eventually the float slid away. This time I found myself walking along the bank to keep up with what was obviously a sizeable fish that was hellbent on getting around the corner into Phils swim! I gave it some real pressure to turn it and managed to get a good look it in the process, it looked to be a nice mid-double mirror carp. Unfortunately my 4lb hooklink wasn't really up to the task and soon I was left cursing as the fish made good it's escape.

I packed up shortly afterwards as I could no longer see my float but this session had really brought home the possibilities of what the venue could offer in the future and to be honest I can't wait to get back down there!



Thursday, 9 October 2014

Rutland adventure

This was a trip I'd been looking forward to for a good while, a few of us from the specimen hunting UK group on Facebook had organised a get together fishing for predators on the mighty Rutland water.

Having grown up in the nearby town of MeltonMowbray I had often visited Rutland on school trips and the like and I remember always wondering what it's vast and mysterious depths might contain. Little snippets in the angling press over the years told of huge Pike and Perch but more recently Zander seem to have come to the fore with large catches commonplace.

I've mentioned several times on this blog over the years that I really wanted to catch a Zed on a lure and with Rutlands pedigree I couldn't think of a place which would give me a better chance. Fishing such a huge expanse of freshwater would take me completely out of my comfort zone and I realised that I would have to learn fast. Boat control, fishing on the drift with a drogue and Techniques like vertical jigging are completely new to me so much research ensued.

I watched videos on youtube, read articles and asked for advice from anybody with previous experience of the place. I even went out and purchased a fishfinder and drogue especially for the occasion. Lurewise, i planned to use shads and another type of lure called a Kogut which comes from Poland and is basically a kind of jighead with feathers whipped onto it. Koguts are used very successfully on the continent to catch Zander and arnt available commercially in this country, fortunately I managed to acquire some through a Polish friend who knows a guy that makes them.


Kogut lures
The big day finally arrived and I pulled into the carpark at the fishing lodge to meet up with the lads. After a quick chat we bought our tickets and loaded the boats up. It was around 9am by the time myself and boat partner Phil found ourselves motoring out onto the lake and boy was it busy! Aswell as all the fishing boats being out there, we had sailing boats by the hundred and canoes aplenty, it was like an aquatic Version of the M1!

Phil at the helm, boats in the background were just the tip of the iceberg!
A couple of hundred yards out we decided to tackle up and setup the fishfinder. All went well and we were both surprised at the depth readings of 60-odd feet, this was gonna be like deep sea wreck fishing! We had a few casts to get used to working the lures in the deep water and we then upped sticks and headed out into the main bowl to hopefully find some fish and begin our first drift. After a few minutes we came across a huge plume of oxygen bubbles coming from the depths, obviously some kind of aerator perhaps to combat the blue-green algae I suspect.

A mammoth sized aerator for a mammoth sized lake!
The fishfinder showed a mind blowing 85ft but more importantly we had several fish signals on there so this was as good a spot as any to try. We quickly established that the drift in this area was pushing towards the dam wall end so we setup on the opposite side of the aerator to the dam and began our first pass.
I dropped the kogut in and around 30seconds later it finally hit the bottom. I twitched it gently up and down with a pause of a few seconds between each pull. After a couple of minutes I felt a gentle pluck and struck, the rod bent over for all of two seconds and the fish was gone. I cursed my luck but it was a good sign, at least we'd found a fish or two. This was confirmed when a minute later Phil bent into a fish which had taken his shad.

Phil in action
Although it was only maybe 2lb it proved to be Phils first Zander and set our confidence sky high! After finishing the drift we motored back around and setup for another. I managed to lose another fish and it wasn't until the third run that I finally caught one, a tiny fish of about a pound, I wasn't complaining though!
We tried a couple of other areas and although it was proving to be quite tough we still had a few pulls. It was soon apparent that catching fish from such great depths wasn't without its issues. I'd read about the bulging eyes and blown up swimbladders on the internet but seeing it in the flesh was actually quite disturbing. Torpedoing the fish back in was also something that was completely unnatural to me but it definately seemed to work as the fish invariably swam straight downwards. Not all the fish had these problems not by a long shot but of those that did I can't help wondering what the mortality rate of them is.

Average size on the day

Bulgy eyes, not nice :-(
At around lunchtime we were experiencing a bit of a lean spell and after a ring around the other boats it was apparent we weren't doing too badly as they seemed to be struggling to find the fish aswell.
We headed up the north arm towards the tower as it seemed a bit quieter boatwise. After a short while we heard a cheer come from another boat nearby and were surprised to see a huge perch being hoisted aloft for photos, after a quick conversation with the two lads afterwards they told us it was over 4lb, nice!
We couldn't buy a bite in that area ourselves so we headed to the mouth of the north arm to try the shallower margins in the hope of maybe a pike or two. In the event, no pike were forthcoming but Phil did manage a lovely brown trout of around 3-4lb.
Shortly after that we had a phone call from Andy on one of the other boats to say that they'd found a stack of fish around a plateau further up the north arm. We didn't need telling twice and within minutes we were over there setting up a drift. Andy and Dave were bending into fish seemingly every five minutes! The finder showed an initial depth of 60-66ft which shallowed to 45-50ft over a very short distance before deepening off again to 60ft+. On top of the plateau there was fish signals everywhere.

Found ya!
We started getting pulls and taps straight away, my problem was keeping them hooked. I had several drop off before I managed to land one, Phil on the other hand was fishing shads still and his hookup to fish landed rate was far better than mine for some reason. I stuck with the koguts though as I had great confidence in them.

More kogut success
Eventually though all good things must come to an end and darkness soon began to descend, it was time to head in. I was amazed at how long it took us to get back, we weren't that far up the north arm yet it still took a good twenty minutes to get back to the lodge even with the motor on full bore.
Overall it was a real day to remember, certainly very different to my normal fishing and I really quite enjoyed it. Many thanks to my boat partner Phil for helping to make the day what it was, I shall certainly return to Rutland at some point without a doubt.



Monday, 29 September 2014

September mixed bag

Since catching my Barbel PB earlier this season something slightly odd seems to have happened to my fishing. I can't quite put my finger on it but It's not the fishing itself that's changed it's more like my attitude and approach to it which has altered slightly I feel. It's almost as if that Barbel was a catalyst or a switch which has allowed me to pass through to a new chapter in my angling journey.

Over the last few weeks my fishing has felt so much more relaxed and natural, the pressure feels well and truly off now and this has allowed me to enjoy my fishing so much more. Although I didn't realise it at the time I now see that I was putting way too much pressure on myself to catch fish, not just in the early part of this season but throughout the last 3-4years. Don't get me wrong Ive certainly enjoyed myself and caught some cracking fish but I now realise that sometimes I was taking it all a bit too seriously when there really wasn't any need for it.

Anyway, now I've got that off my chest lets get back to the fishing and,carrying on in the same vein where my last post left off, I've carried on with the carp fishing. I'll begin with an evening trip on a local club water and when I arrived I was surprised to find the place packed with other anglers. This was unusual cos normally the place is practically empty from one week to the next! As a result my swim choice was extremely limited. On this particular water I like to fish to marginal features but due to the size of the pool and the underwater topography there are only limited options and in this case there seemed to be somebody setup next to each and every one!

After a couple of laps of the lake and much deliberation I settled on a swim where casting to my marginal feature involved a tricky cast from between two bushes across the front of an overhanging tree to a few wisps of bulrushes which were in about 4ft of water. It took me a few casts to get it right but once it was there I decided that it wouldn't be moved until it either went or I packed up, I really didn't fancy trying to get it back on the money once darkness settled. The other rod was cast towards a couple of showing fish out in open water.

The hours passed by with no activity other than one or two fish crashing over the deep water in the middle. All the other anglers slowly dwindled away and before long it was dark and just myself an Phil still fishing. The activity out in the lake noticeably increased once it got dark proper and we both started to get a few liners yet couldn't understand why we both remained fishless.

As packup time fast approached I went next door to phils peg to discuss when we should reel in. As we talked I suddenly became aware of a funny hissing noise coming from somewhere in the darkness, then it clicked, it was my baitrunner, I'd forgotten to switch my alarm on! It was the margin rod and I was on it in seconds. After a steady battle a nice upper double common was soon netted.

The next trip was an evening chucking bits of metal and plastic about on my local stretch of soar. My daughter Charlotte came along and I was hoping she would get the opportunity to nail her fish lure caught fish. She didn't disappoint either and had a succession of small perch. I managed a couple of jacks and had some really exciting follows which I was glad Char got an opportunity to see, she reckons we should be on river monsters now!

The 24th of September was the day I reached the grand old age of 38 and as such I decided to book the day off work and head back up the a50 to the little carp pool I fished in my last blog entry. As before I had the whole lake to myself although it was a lot breezier this time around so I picked a swim with a bit of shelter from the elements which still gave me good command over a sizeable area of water.

The weed was hideous and seemed to be everywhere I cast so I switched over to choddys and had a bite within minutes. Unfortunately the hook pulled after a few seconds but I took the early action as a positive sign and was more than hopeful of a good day.

Another lost fish around half an hour later had me investigating my rig and,after changing the hook pattern and size aswell as the length of the chod slightly, I felt way more confident. This confidence was well placed because a short while later I landed my first fish of the trip and it turned out to be a repeat capture of the wood carving mirror in my last blog entry!

I fished on and over the course of the morning I went on to land four more carp aswell as losing another so all in all it was a nice productive session. I can't believe more people don't fish the pool as it's not difficult it's just very weedy but the carp are a good average size, my smallest was around 13lb.

Another quick lure session on the soar filled in the angling void between my birthday and the weekend. It was pretty tough going and although I had a couple of hefty tugs which I missed , it was a good hour before I finally hooked something. This turned out to be jack which absolutely smashed my savage gear eel.

I wasn't sure what to do on my Sunday session and it wasn't until I woke up that morning that I decided what I would go for. If truth be told I was getting slightly bored of both catching carp and lure fishing so I opted to have a morning on the Trent, Chub fishing with bread.

I had a surprise on my first put in when, within seconds, the tip slammed around and I found myself connected to a lively Barbel. It gave me the proper run-around before going to ground in the streamer weed, my 4lb hooklink never stood a chance.

After that I struggled for a bite despite trying a couple of different swims. After a dull start the sun was now out in force and the river being low and crystal clear didn't do me any favours either. Eventually a tentative pluck on the tip had me striking into solid resistance which turned out to be a sizeable Trent Bream of around 8lb.

After trying a couple more of my usual swims for nothing more than a couple of tiny taps I decided to head downstream to a much wider shallower area. This turned out to be a good decision as this was where the Chub seemed to be lying. Two decent fish in quick succession cheered me up no-end and I packed up just as the sun hit it's peak around midday.



Tuesday, 2 September 2014

August in pictures (mostly)

The early part of the month was lost to work but I had a whole week booked off and set aside for fishing at the end of August and I had some big plans. One advantage of working so much over the first couple of weeks was a bulging bank account and this allowed me to purchase some new rods in the form of a couple of Scope offerings from the Nash stable. At 10ft long they are shorter than the carp rods I'm used to but seeing as most of fishing is on small waters and rivers they seemed a logical purchase.

Obviously I couldn't wait to get out and use them and to this end I had been baiting a couple of swims on my local bit of river soar with Carp and Barbel in mind. Groundbait, boilies, in fact anything I could get my hands on went in over the course of a week or so.

The Friday night which signalled the start of my week off finally arrived and I was down the river like a shot. It didn't take long to get a response either, after about an hour my reel went into meltdown. After a solid tussle my first Soar Barbel of the season was banked and at over 9lb it wasn't a bad fish either.

No more action occurred and I was left somewhat puzzled, surely that fish can't have been the only one mopping up all the bait I'd put in? I resolved to visit the area again ASAP. The new rods had behaved well anyway. A day later I was back down and other than a couple of crayfish type knocks nothing happened whatsover.

I needed some fish under my belt so a spot of lure fishing was the order of the day and my next trip to a very misty river soar had me chucking all kinds of bits of wood and metal about.

It was tough going to begin with and I was struggling to coax much of a response from the fish, even the perch weren't obliging. The mist began to burn off and after having a couple of follows on an ondex I decided to weight it to make it run deeper. The response was practically instant and a succession of jacks fell to the lure over the next hour or so. Seemingly every swim I tried had a hungry little croc waiting for me.

The action tailed off as the sun got up proper so I headed home and decided to get the carp gear sorted for an evening trip to a local club water.

This again proved to be hard going although I think a lot of it was self inflicted as I just couldn't settle. I moved three times before I was happy with my swim choice and within an hour I found myself playing a sizeable common, certainly well over 20lb. It weeded me up and after some tense moments I finally had it in open water under the rod tip. Suddenly disaster struck and for some unexplainable reason the hook pulled! Gutted I was and after no more action that trip I decided a return session the following day to even the score was much needed.

I already had an idea where the fish were as they had been showing the night before and and I was well prepared to attack them. It took a while to get some action but after two nice fish in quick succession I felt vindicated for losing the fish the day before.

Whilst down there I got talking to another chap about some lakes a short drive away which I'd not fished before. I didn't need any convincing to go and explore and at first light the following day I was getting lost in Staffordshire looking for a tasty sounding little irrigation pool he'd told me about.

It didn't take too long to find and I was pleasantly surprised at what an attractive little pool it was. The water was crystal clear and the second I walked through the gate I was confronted by two mid-double commons mooching about in the margins. A circuit of the pool revealed quite a few more carp and lots of weed with very few clear spots apparent. I picked a swim and decided to have a lead around to see if I could find anywhere fishable.

Everywhere I cast there was weed but there was one area where it seemed just a little bit thinner and there was just about enough room to squeeze a couple of rods into it. After playing about with a couple of rigs I settled on chod rigs with bright yellow popups and this seemed to do the business as I went on to catch five double figure carp and a bream over the course of the morning aswell as losing three other carp. The colours on the mirrors were stunning.

After a couple of successful days carping I decided to spend the following morning withe dropshot gear back on the soar in a different area for a change. Unlike earlier in the week the Perch were much more obliging and a load of little ones plus a rogue pike were soon landed before the rain descended and I was forced to head for home.

An unsuccessful evening of soar Carbelling followed and other than a tiny chub of about a pound which managed to hang itself I had no action to speak of.

After a conversation with Phil the following day we decided to head to a carp runs water for what would hopefully be a mad day of action as we'd not had a day like that for ages. Earlswoods engine pool was to be our destination and although neither of us had been there before we were well confident of a good bend in the rod.

In the event it proved to be a tricky day and although I managed five Carp to mid doubles I got plagued by bream as I'd made the mistake of filling it in with ground bait. Phil managed a couple of carp but we were later informed by the bailiff that the place had virtually switched off with the majority of other anglers on the lake blanking altogether. One or two others were bagging however and I think the key was bait quantity, it was no coincidence that the guy who was spodding virtually all day caught one after another, bet he was knackered though!

We enjoyed it there anyway and it's certainly another one to remember for some action when times are tough. That pretty much sums up my fishing for August, no big fish action but it was nice to get some action. I'm not overly fussed about the barbel after catching that 14lber the other week so for now I'm content to just get out and enjoy my fishing for a while, certainly until the first frosts arrive anyway and I can embark on my winter chub and pike campaign. I think I'm going to leave the perch alone this year as their pursuit has taken me away from too many other things I've wanted to do over the last couple of years.
Anyway, until next time, tight lines!