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!