Friday, 26 June 2015

Back to some proper fishing - part 3

........ A text from my buddy Phil enquiring as to whether I'd be up for an after work lure session brought the obvious response and soon enough I once more found myself trentside. After the exciting session with the surface poppers last week I was keen to use the method again, Some of the takes we had were truly spectacular and really got the old ticker racing that's for sure. We decided to try a shallow section with the surface gear first for chub and jacks and then planned to move to a slower deeper section with the shads in the hope of a zander or decent Pike as the light faded.

I wussed out and put a large spinner on first just to get some instant action and was greatly encouraged when the action really was instant and I caught a Perch first put-in. Having broken my duck I quickly changed to a surface frog and a couple of casts across a shallow riffle brought an explosive take with the culprit looking very chub-like. It soon managed to shake the hook out though but I wasn't to be put off and a couple of swims later I had another hit which was more akin to a carp taking a dog biscuit off the top, a gentle swirl accompanied by a sucking sound. This proved to be my first Perch on a surface lure and at a tad over 2lb it was my best of the (short) season so far.



No more fish looked at the frog in that swim but a change of lure told me I'd found a group of half decent fish because I quickly hooked and landed another one which went 2lb12oz on the scales, a long fish with considerable winter potential I feel.



Several more smaller perch to around a pound followed as I worked my way down the field and before long it was time to head to the deeper area.

After a few minutes of bumping a shad slowly around in one of my favourite Trent zed swims I had a positive tug and struck into something which buried the lure in amongst the rocks in seconds and came off. Phil too reported a follow from a zander in the next swim along so we were in the right area.

One swim I came upon was only inches deep and fish could be seen bow waving on the shallows. I twitched a shad across them and after several bow waves shot across the gravel towards the lure I caught a small perch. There was still loads out there but I was struggling to hit the taps and pulls so I switched to the spinner again. First cast and a large hump in the water appeared behind the lure before it got smashed by a lively jack. The next swim brought the same response and another slightly larger fish tail walked it's way into the net .



Another lost pike and a couple of small perch landed later and it soon became apparent that the light was fading fast so we decided to work our way back to the car. I had another pike in my next swim and decided to call it a day,



Phil manage a couple of zed like pulls but no hookups and we then headed for home. So there you have it, my first week of the season, lots of fishing, not quite what I expected but I certainly enjoyed it all nevertheless, tight lines all.



Back to some proper fishing - part 2

....... The next evening I found myself on yet another different area of Trent in pursuit of a Barbel. It was quite late by the time I arrived and I didn't get much time to setup before dark. Straight away I was getting taps on the rodtip so there was obviously fish out there.

I didn't have to wait long to get an idea of what they were however because within minutes a large bream rolled out in the middle where my baits were, then another and another, the place was alive with them!

It didn't take me long to catch one, a typical Trent stamp of 6-7lb, and realise that I would be struggling to catch a Barbel amongst them. It was too late for a move so I resolved to stop till around midnight and hope a whiskered beast would be able to bully it's way through.

Of course it wasn't to be and after catching a more than respectable bag of several Bream to 8lb2oz I packed up still frustrated at the lack of barbellage. Looking at my records I now realise that I've never done great for Barbs at this time of year and my best results by far have come in late august through till early October, I'm not giving up just yet though!

I decided upon something completely different for my next trip as I'd recently acquired permission to fish a very private estate lake. I had no idea what to expect and even the gamekeeper couldn't tell me a great deal other than he reckoned there might be some carp and tench in there. The only way to find out was to fish it I guess so I planned a short Saturday afternoon session on there.

Armed with bread, maggots, sweetcorn, worms, ground bait and pellets I think I had all bases covered and upon arrival I settled into a nice looking corner swim fishing off a boat jetty. It was overcast but very muggy and a lot of Rudd could be seen milling around under the surface. A couple of balls of groundbait introduced alongside a overhanging tree soon turned that area of the swim into a jacuzzi as the tench homed in on it.

A good plumb around revealed that the lake was no more than 18inches deep all over and after casting a grain of corn into the jacuzzi it didn't take long to get an enquiry. A small Tench was soon swung to hand and that was followed up by several more and some Rudd aswell.


After around half an hour I finally managed to hook something a little more substantial which turned out to be a small carp. Well so far the lake certainly wasn't what I was expecting, it was stuffed with fish but they were all small!


I could see some bow waves and other signs of larger fish moving out in the middle of the pool so I decided to setup a small bolt feeder rig baited with a large pellet in bid to catch something better.

I placed the rod down on the edge of the boat jetty and before I even turned away the tip was pulling round! After a spirited scrap another little carp was soon netted.


And so that set the tone for the next 3 hours, cast, catch, net, rebait, cast, it got to the stage where I wasn't even putting the rod down, I just held it till it pulled round. It was still very shallow in the middle because every bite resulted in a splashy swirl out where I'd cast to.


I even attempted to fish two rods at one point but gave that up as a bad idea after three double hookups on the trot! The place was absolutely heaving with small stunted carp.


Eventually I ran out of bait and although I'd just had one of the maddest few hours fishing of my life it was a bittersweet end because I was almost expecting such an old estate lake to hold some really special fish. I'd enjoyed my trip on there though despite small carp not really being my thing, every one pulled like a demon and every one had a perfect mouth and was in great condition, certainly a lake to rival any commercial I've ever fished.

Anyway, having had my lake fix, I was soon back on the river with the lures for my most recent trip .....



Back to some proper fishing - part 1

So that time of year has come around again and the rivers are once again open for business as usual. The start this year has been somewhat hit and miss for me but I've certainly landed a few fish albeit not always my intended quarry!

Opening day was the usual massive anticlimax and although conditions were seemingly perfect, the much anticipated Barbel never materialised. We were joined by Steve Collett and cameraman Ian who both came down to do a feature for the anglers mail . A lot of thought goes into setting up the various shots and it was fascinating watching the pros in action.



I did manage a bream of over 7lb and three Chub to 5lb and I lost something which felt suspiciously like a Barbel or a Carp to a hookpull so odd catch a few. I was a little disheartened after building my hopes so high for some Barbel but nevertheless it was great to be back on running water again and getting a few bends in the rod.



I headed to the river soar the next morning with the lure rod and after catching a Chub on pretty much my first put in I was hopeful of some fast and furious action.



The fish however had different ideas and the Perch in particular were conspicuous by their absence. By the time I had worked my way down to the bottom of the field I'd only added a small tail walking jack to my tally with very little interest from much else.



I decided to try a nearby weirpool in a last ditch attempt to build a half decent bag and was rewarded with several perch and two more Pike, the fish obviously preferred the faster and more oxygenated water in the muggy conditions.



That evening Phil and I were back on a different stretch of river which, based on past form, is usually a dead cert for a barbel. Just on darkness I managed to lose a fish in a snag after a truly brutal take which nearly pulled the rod in. I could feel the line grating through something from the off and it didn't take long to lock up solid before suddenly everything fell slack as the badly damaged line parted. Just as I was cursing my own luck a call came through from Phil telling me he'd caught something special and was in need of assistance. I grabbed my camera and headed upstream to find that Phil had indeed landed a beast, all 14lb11oz of it! Always good to get those PBS in early mate, well done!



The following day we went out with the lure gear and were joined once again by Steve and Ian for another feature. I won't delve into the events too much because it will come out in the feature but we did have some good action on surface poppers and Steve caught a very special fish indeed.



The next evening I was back on the Trent on my own and still determined to catch a Barbel. The taps on the rodtip as darkness fell certainly had my confidence through the roof so you can imagine my disappointment when my first proper pull of the evening turned out to be another Bream!

It all went quiet for a while after that until around midnight when I struck into what turned out to be a decent Chub of 5.8. With all the obvious spawning activity across the river over the previous few days the fish proved to be hollow and I'd certainly like to reacquaint myself with it come the winter time.



I packed up shortly after but I already had plans for the following evening ..........


Saturday, 13 June 2015

Smooth operator

To say I've not been fishing much of late is an understatement, for some reason I've just not been able to muster up any interest in fishing my local lakes. Once again this closed season I've not had any kind of campaign to get my teeth into although I think this is more down to not having a new and interesting water to fish than actually losing my mojo. I could fish my usual local waters but to be honest they bore me to death these days and I'd rather not fish them at all than fish them half heartedly.

A couple of blogs ago I mentioned the canal and it's horrible colour due to the massive increase in boat traffic. Now the colour has always been a real confidence killer for me when fishing lures on the cut but some other anglers don't seem to bother about it at all and fish on regardless. The other day I was headed to a local club lake for a bit of rubber chucking and my journey there took me over the canal. Even though it was tea coloured I decided to have a few casts anyway just in case and was surprised to get a thump from something on only my second put-in.

Nothing else was forthcoming in that swim but I decided to fish a little more persistently and a couple of spots later I was rewarded with a nice perch which absolutely smashed my tiny pink shad. It looked well worthy of some challenge points anyway although it was some way short of the hoped for 2lb.



After that I moved onto the lake where I managed to pimp out a few micro-perch on the dropshot before heading home.

My next trip out was an impromptu visit to the beach at chapel st leonards in pursuit of my first Smoothound. A chance comment after seeing a post on Facebook about Smoothound the week before started the ball rolling for another of our little group get togethers. Now this was set to be an interesting one because, although we were all seasoned freshwater anglers, we hardly had any beach fishing experience between us let alone tackle for the job! The week in the run up to the trip was spent frantically sourcing suitable tackle and reading up/watching every available snippet we could find about catching smoothies, it was all very exciting.

The big day finally arrived and at 5.30am the East Midlands battle bus containing Myself, Andy, Dave and Phil set forth in the direction of Chapel and hopefully some rod bending action. We made it to local lad Big Phils house at around 7.15 and met up with him aswell as Lee and Martin. After a slap up brekky courtesy of Phil and his good lady Louise, our intrepid party headed to the beach via the bait man at Chapel point to pick up some extra supplies.

We headed around a mile down the beach from the point and it was all but deserted save for one poor unsuspecting angler who was totally unaware of the rabble that was about to descend on his tranquility. The tide was in, the sun was out and the wind was off our backs, good conditions for it we hoped! We walked to a suitable area a proceeded to get setup with everybody opting for squid as a starter bait due to it's ease of use.

Well it didn't take long to get stuck into some fish because we started getting thumps on the rodtips straight away. Phil scored first with a small but perfectly formed Smoothound which was the first any of us had seen let alone caught, mission accomplished!
Dave, Andy and Lee all stepped onto the scoresheet next with similar sized fish and it was proving to be a productive session. Phil had another and then Dave hooked a more substantial specimen. It pulled hard on the 3.5lb test pike rod he was using but it was soon tamed and the first big one of the trip was beached.
I must admit to being somewhat jealous of all these fish getting caught and was wondering when my turn would come. I'd been a little unlucky as I'd had two drop off but a change to a lugworm hookbait soon brought a change in my fortunes. The rod tip banged over hard then the line fell slack so I wound furiously to make contact with the fish and battle commenced. To be fair on the gear I was using it didn't stand much chance but it still had be back winding a couple of times. Pretty soon a nice smoothhound, certainly the biggest of the day so far, was wriggling up the beach and my day was complete, I didn't care if I didn't get another bite because I'd caught what I'd gone for.


After that the tide began to go out and sport died for everybody. It soon became tiresome moving the gear down the beach every 20mins but we were still hopeful of some more fish. Sadly, other than a couple of flatfish including my first Dab there was no more action forthcoming.



We decided to hang around until the tide came back in in the hope that the smoothies would come back in with it but when the flood tide did eventually come in it brought with it so much weed and rubbish that fishing was nigh on impossible so we gave up on it and headed home. All in all a good day out and yet another successful trip for our little Facebook group. After my LRF success the other week plus this, I think I shall be heading to the coast more often especially as I'd so love to catch a Bass. It's the one sea species I've tried for more than any other but so far one of its kind has eluded me, not for much longer though I hope!