Thursday, 30 April 2009

An early morning MAN knackers me out!

29/4/09 Napton Reservoir 09:00 - 16:30. Warm and bright (16C), brisk southerly wind.

Just for the record and in the style of Martin Kelner I'd like to say that I have 37 years of almost unblemished heterosexuality.

This Wednesday I was up well before dawn (03:15) to drop the inlaws at Manchester airport to jet off on holiday. The roads were quiet and I was back at home in Coventry by 07:00.

The most notable aspect of this errand was the dawn I saw on the southbound M6 on my way back. Wondrous. First one of the year and certainly given me a thirst for more. There was a low level mist which added to the atmosphere as the sun rose to my left. Too often I had to force myself to look forwards rather than perpendicular to my direction of travel.

As fishermen we see dawn break - other folk don't and in my opinion are missing out. There's nowhere like England at dawn. It's at it's most spectacular on a summers morning when it takes it's time, works its way through the spectrum of colours ending in grand fresh illumination. Unlike dusk a fisherman's dawn marks the start of a fishing day and not an end. The air is still at dawn revealing feeding fish. Once the sun rises above the tree line the air starts to move and the weather systems wake. It's tough to know whether to look skywards or down at the water.

Enough. I'm no Keats.

I knew I would be knackered from this early start and booked the day off work as contingency. I also compromised my preferred style of fishing in order to incorporate a bed chair and bite alarms in case I nodded off.

I turned up at Napton Reservoir at about 08:45 after Tench, Bream and possibly a 3lb Roach if I could fit one in. To my surprise it was busy. Like ten cars in the car park busy. The causeway was full of anglers. Shedding all trace of watercraft and armed with the weather forecast I opted for a peg near the canal facing onto the small reservoir. Principally as the wind was going to be from behind me, I would get some shade and my bed chair would fit the peg nicely.

I set up two rods on alarms. Light bobbins as I wanted to see the bites. I balled out ten orange sized balls of groundbait. One rod had a method feeder (first time I've used one) and one had a straight bomb, both had corn on a hair as hookbait.

I had indications from the off but no takes. The first retrieval on both rods was weedy. Caked in blanket weed. The second retrieve was the same - snot weed ahoy. Being sure I was over at best a hit and miss bottom I needed to get my hook baits off the floor. I popped both baits up using plastic corn. Helicopter style on the method and with a split shot on the hooklength of the bomb.

This move got me a Tench of a bout two pounds on the straight bomb. Noticing my method rod was getting far more interest than the straight bomb I switched the straight bomb across to a cage feeder, still with the popped up hookbait. This took a second fish around 3lbs.

The cage feeder then hooked and I lost a third fish in the weed. I then involuntarily fell asleep for about half an hour.

Revitalised, I started spraying maggots out and set up a light waggler outfit for the silver fish. I wound one leger rod in and gave the float a go for about an hour. I couldn't buy a bite on the float.

I then involuntarily fell asleep for about half an hour.

Revitalised I switched back to both leger rods and upped the rate of casting to keep the groundbait going in. I had one more Tench about 3.5lbs on the method rod.

One thing I noticed was that after casting out either rod I was getting lots of action; twitches, line jumps, tip trembles, but few hook-ups. I don't know whether this was due to the hookbait being masked in weed, or whether a bait four inches off the bottom wasn't fooling the Tench. Still, I moved my technique for medium range Tench fishing over weed on during this session so I learned something.

I then involuntarily fell asleep for about half an hour.


Wednesday, 22 April 2009

One Evening Two Venues

21st April - Blythe Waters after work then on to Ryton

Although I've had a few other short trips since last posting here none have delivered any noteworthy catches so I'll not bore you unnecessarily.

Tonight the plan was to target Rudd at Blythe waters. I'd fished it briefly last autumn and remember being pestered by and catching Rudd back then whilst I was after the Carp.

After paying my fiver the lady quickly informed me I was to be "off by seven tonight".
"What!? But it's not even getting dark until about half eight!"

The response to my protest was a high pitched whiny noise with 'endearing' Midland twang that continued as I turned on my heels and left the hut - I was against the clock you see.

I fished the lake with the pylon - I think it's called Home pool - and set up a light waggler with 18 hook to 1.7lb bottom. I fed red maggots, liquidised bread and fluffy groundbait steadily.

Sport came from the off and I started with mainly Roach. Mainly Roach became mainly Rudd which in turn became mainly Perch. I lost something silver and significant which I think was a Chub of about two and a half pounds.

I had a few nice Rudd, the largest of which was 9oz. This earns me a couple of points in the fishing challenge I have on with my mate.

A Perch of about 12ozs caught towards the end when the Rudd had returned made my heart stop until I saw it.

So the scores on the doors are now;

Just so you know, I'm a sucker for rules and was packed up and in my car by ten to seven. There were plenty of others who hadn't even started to pack up as I made my way out, including what looked like a match which was still underway on one pool. Perhaps next time I'll talk to a few other anglers to find out what the real deal is.

Driving home at about five past seven I thought about the hour and a half of light left. Compulsion kicked in and I was set up at Ryton Pool by half past seven.

I lobbed in my remaining groundbait and the particles I hadn't used and fished breadflake over the top in the margins.

Within ten minutes I had bubbles and by the time I couldn't see my float I'd had two Tench - one about two pounds and one of 3lb 5ozs. Not monsters but fish that wouldn't have been caught if it weren't for being slightly deranged.

The best example I have of dogged derangement was whilst Salmon fishing for most of the day in the rain in the Highlands. At about half five as dusk neared and the air cooled I waded out of the chilly water with rain dripping down my neck. The pull of steak and ale pie, pints of ten shilling and a hot shower were strong but delusion won the day and I forced myself back into the water at the top of the run for 'one last cast'.....

This stupidity earned me my first ever Salmon. So I think what you lack in skill you can to some degree at least make up for in perseverance.

Return to Hopsford

Tues 7th April - Hopsford Hall after work.

After catching a truck load of Roach on my previous visit I returned to Hopsford hoping to get amongst some larger Roach.

The wind was blowing a hooley up the lake, towards the car park. I banked on it abating as the evening drew on and hoped it would have blown some fish up so set up in the teeth of it.

To my disappointment it didn't abate but just strengthened and strengthened! Although I caught Roach, presentation was somewhat hampered and there was far fewer fish than my last visit.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Fishing in a Bath

3.4.09 - Hopsford Hall. Mild and mostly sunny with a Southerly wind.

Had a day off on Friday with the aim of getting amongst the Wild Carp and possibly Rudd and Perch from the Duckery at Hopsford Hall.

My plan was a simple one; float fish maggots a few rods out and double my chances with a light Carp outfit to the same baited area. Coupled with a carpet of homemade groundbait surely the Duckery would yield a Wildie or two.

I arrived about half past eight in the morning and despite the barrier across the main path made my way to the small pool. I thought the barrier probably meant a tree had fallen or the mud was bad on the path or something.

Once set up I trickled the maggots in over a four ball bed of groundbait. It was quiet. The water looked in good nick, pretty clear and fresh.

After half an hour my mind started to churn as I hadn't seen any sign of the Carp I was after and my float hadn't moved. I started to get that sinking feeling when the variance between actual and plan is polar.

After forty five minutes I caught a small and welcome Roach. After an hour a guy from the main lake came down and immediately asked 'what are you doing'? Thinking him a bit daft I said I was after the resident wild Carp. He quickly informed me that I'd be lucky as the pool I was fishing had been drained down to the mud a fortnight ago and all the fish moved to a nearby holding pool because of a problem with levels on this pool. Who's daft now!?

I moved up to the main pool.

Moving swims is never as easy as just picking up your gear and putting it down somewhere else but after a few alterations I was fishing again on the dam wall. The float went under pretty much every cast from the off and Roach after Roach was swung in. I must have weighed ten fish throughout the course of the day for the purposes of the 'Fishing Challenge' I have with my mate but none would make it over ten ounces.

The Roach were about two to the pound and I had a sack load of them throughout the day. I picked up bonus carp of 10lbs 3oz and 13lb 6ozs on the float rod around tea time and had one on the light lead late on at 19lbs 9ozs, so two points in the challenge. Try and spot the difference between this fish and the big Barbel I caught recently - I think the carp is a touch slimmer.

I gave the wag and mag a go for an hour in the middle of the afternoon after a large ghostie intercepted the maggots on the way down - was hooked and then quickly got off - but no joy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day as the float was never visible for long. I also heard first hand tales of some large Roach which is encouraging.

The scores on the doors after today are.....

Tight lines.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Meet 'Norm'

31.3.09 Ryton Pool after work, peg 2. Warm. Light wind into Right hand bay. Clocks forward.

It was really warm when I got out of the car and my thermal bottoms and multiple undershirts felt as out of place as Coventry in the Premier League.

Ryton Pool was 'busy' with three other fishermen already in place when I arrived. There was a guy on the shallow side with a couple of lines out and two gents who I've now met fishing nearby. One scored with two Tench 'about the pound mark' and the second had an unlucky night losing a number of Carp.

I had just the one Tench on bread over groundbait to a lift-method float. Apart from one other liner at the death I've nothing else fishy to report unfortunately.

I had a second rod out after a Pike but despite popping the deadbait up off the bottom to keep it out of the weed it didn't tremble all night. I heard first hand stories of good predators though so hope I can still get my 'double' here.

I had a regrettable run-in with a Greater Crested Grebe - but that was nothing to do with my deadbait - it picked up my bread off the bottom meant for Tench! It must had dived out of sight some way from my swim, but when the float went under I instinctively picked up the rod sharply. To be honest it felt like a fish for a good while, staying low, pulsing and pulling a bit of line from the reel. It was only when I got it near the surface that I groaned. I got it in to the edge and gave it some slack line. After about the third slackening is shed the hook and scarpered. My hook was both barbless and still on the end of the line at the end of the escapade. Furthermore I saw the Grebe later on diving as before so no harm done.

I know there's not much in the way of silver fish in Ryton but I've never had a Grebe diving on my bait before. Coots, Ducks, Swans andTufts yes, but not Grebes.

Apart from this unwanted foray into foul-snaring the most noteworthy event of the night was that the Tench I caught was the same fish as last week. Last week it weighed 5lb 7ozs, this week it weighed 5lbs 6ozs - obvioulsy been to fat club. Don't believe me? See for yourself. Check out the slight scar on the flank and the top of the tail.

Even weirder is that last week I though I'd caught the same fish the year before. Maybe there are just a handful of Tench in the place!? This one certainly likes dog food groundbait and bread and was in rude health just one week after it's previous capture.

I've a day off planned soon so hope to get amongst some different species at a different venue.

Midland anglers, don't forget Jubilee Pools reopened last week and new Leamington books are now available for the coming season. - Tight lines