Wednesday 31 December 2008

Dove & Trent session

20th Novemeber 2008

I fished the Dove for Grayling using a cage feeder packed with bread crumb and maggot or sweetcorn on the hook. However despite good conditions I never received a single bite. Fishing an area that is noted for the sepcies, I then tried trotting a float down with single or double maggot but this failed to provoke any fish either !

Water temp was an adequate 9 deg C all day, so not sure what I did wrong ? Maybe it was just the location, or something wrong with my presentation.

For the second part of my session I visited a part of the Upper Trent and worm fished for Perch, but after having one missed bite, I failed to catch anything there too.
The swims were definatly screaming perch, with deep slack water of about 6ft+ and lots of heavy tree cover. I have read reports that indicate there are some big perch in this area and I can well believe it. So expect I will be back again for another go before the season is out, it looks that good.

Sunday 16 November 2008

Ruffe end of the stick !

With the mild weather sticking around I decided to have a quick session on the Anker to try and temp a Perch or two. I arrived at about 3:30pm to find that both the pegs I had in mind were taken ! Thats the trouble with the BAA waters I suppose.
I managed to find a perchy looking swim further along so quickly set he margin pole up.
A bite developed straight away but it turned out to be a Ruffe. Its been a long while since I've seen one of these fish. Another Ruffe followed shortly after. I soon drew the conclusion that the swim I was fishing must have been full of them.

As darkness drew in I conceeded defeat (in landing any Perch) and packed up.
Still it was another important session on the river learning some more about the stretch. The temperature readings were air 9deg C & water 10deg C

Saturday 15 November 2008

The Moonlight & The Dark Crease

Friday 14th November 2008

Fished the Dove again after a about a months lay off. I arrived about 7:00pm in darkness but with an almost full moon, the river fining down after another flood the previous weekend. I estimate it was still up about a foot or so with quite a flow pushing through. The water temperature was 11deg C when I started with the airtemp being 14deg C. I used flavoured meat first casting along the edge of a large crease created by the contour of the river bed that flowed from my left near bank up stream to the centre of the river, and then downstream further past the end my swim.

I was surprised not to get any lead movement from the flow as I was only using a 3oz lead to hold bottom.

There were no bites on my curried meat so I moved down to the next peg to try a cast there in the same crease further down, but eventually I switched to pellet and feeder after a hour or so when I lost confidence in the meat. This however proved unsuccessful also. Eventually I decided to try my own made pellet/hemp and base mix boilies, and after a short while casting to the faster flow on the outer edge of the crease I seemed to get a positive take. I retrieved the rig back some minutes later as I suspected the bait had gone, which sure enough it had. Encouraged I re baited with another boilie and tried again, there were no more indications on the rod tip apart from the usual pulls and stutters back and forth each time the feeder was dislodged along the bottom by the faster flow I had now cast into. After an initial 11deg C reading the water temp remained a constant 10deg C throughout the session but even with these ideal conditions I never managed to get any fish interested, just another of the mysteries of fishing I guess !

This photo below shows the stretch fished. I was fishing from two swims on the left hand bank, near to the tree you can make out in the picture on that side, the crease follows the line of the light reflection cast by the street lamp in the centre of the river.

The final Temperature readings for the Air & Water were shown below

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Anker Flood fishing

I had the morning off from work today but was due to be visiting a site in Birmingham in the afternoon, so not one to pass up an opportunity to fish, I decided to try the River Anker again. As it is not far from where I live it meant I could spend a reasonable amount of the morning there.
I got up at 6 and was on the bank before first light about 6.45am. The weather was calm a bit overcast and cool but not freezing. The river however was in flood again and there were only three pegs I could reach.
The water was the usual flood brown but had obviously fined down a bit since the deluge at the weekend and the banks were still sodden from the receded water.

I set up my feeder rod first with the intention of Roach fishing using breadflake on a size 10 hook and a small cage feeder filled each cast with some grated bread and some leftover maggots from last weeks trip (they keep well in the fridge if its cold enough). I used 6lb straight through fiquring that the Roach would not be too line shy in these conditions as the would only be able to smell and not see, also if a chub took the bait I had a better chance of landing it in the stronger flow than on a 2lb hook length.

The swim in front of me had a nice steady flow, slowed by a bush upstream 10 yards to my right and the edge of the crease it caused was probably two rod lengths out to the main flow.
I tried several casts here but never registered a bite. On checking the water temp I decided to set the Barbel rod up too, as the temp and conditions were about perfect. With a steady 8 degC of flood water pushing through it was too good an opportunity to miss. I lobbed out some flavored meat on a 3 oz lead which held relatively well in the flow , only dislodging when too much leaef and weed litter built up on the line after 15 min's or so. Not that it did me any good as I received no bites to this rod all morning either.

After trying the other two accesable swims downstream later on in the morning, I finally packed up about 10 o'clock, in time to get home an get ready for my site meeting in Birmingham at 1:50pm.
So you can imagine what I thought when I got there and found out it had been cancelled !! To think I could have stayed fishing those brilliant Barbel conditions all day, who knows what might have prevailed ?

Sunday 2 November 2008

A bit of Anker fishing

I fished the River Anker today starting at the crack of dawn, which at this time of year is 7:00am ! so not too early. It was just about light when I arrived at the Car Park, so I quickly set up and plumed the depth. The target was to be Perch on the float rod first off, but I also set a barbel rod up with some flavoured meat on - to be left to its own devices in the margin in case any barbel decided to come on the feed.

After getting a few perch type bites on the float (twitchy bobs) and then missing them for some unexplained reason. I decided to move to the next peg to rest the first swim. This gave me almost instant results with a little sprat (Perch) on the denrobena worms I was using, purchased from Polesworth Tackle shop. I had another then I stuck at another typical perch bite that bobbed the float twice then sailed away. This time as it sailed away and I struck it instanly snagged me on an undewater branch ! Bites dried up quickly after this so I decided to try another species.
I decided to see what the fish that were topping all over the river in front of me were, so I changed the float rig over to a smaller stick float and started trotting maggots down the nice deep glide in front of me. After a short while I started catching a steady stream of nice Roach from a couple of onces to maybe 6 oz, which was quite fun from a river. I seems like along time since I last caught a river Roach and after a while I had bagged quite a few of them along with a solatary little Chublet.
None of the fish I caught were massive but as time went on I did start to get slightly bigger stamp of fish. I couldn't help thinking that a really big one would be next, but maybe thats just over optimistic enthusiasm kicking in !
It was definatly enjoyable though to trot the float down stream waiting for it to pass through the 'bite zone' that had naturally formed. I assumed this was where the shoal had gathered to intecept my free offering maggots that would be drifting down in the current. The old adage of feeding little and often was once again proved as I made sure half a dozed were fired in every cast.
A really enjoyable morning overall and I am starting to really enjoy this little stretch of river now. There were no bites on the Barbel rod suffice to say, but 'you've gotta be in it to win it' !

Friday 10 October 2008

New stretch on Anker

Wed 8th October

I decided to try a new stretch of the River Anker I have discovered, so after finishing work early on wed this week, I was able to get down there around 4:00pm.
The Stretch of river looked good, with plenty of near and opposite bank cover and appeared quite deep in places (up-to 6ft at least I would guess at this stage.)There were a few pegs that looked good for a nice Perch or two.
I started off by baiting up a number of likely looking pegs along the stretch with a handful of pellets in each (Barbel being the target species). Then set up my gear in the peg where I thought there would be the best chance.
Twenty minutes later I had a vicious tap then the rod tip pulled sharply round. The initial fight had me wondering if it could be a barbel as the fish fought well and tried to stay down deep. However soon after I caught sight of a reasonable chub as it gave up its battle and came reluctantly to the net. At 3lb 7oz it wasn't a bad first fish to open my account I thought, I just need to get a barbel to take interest now.

I had one more bite on the next cast, which was more typical of chub tapping the tip hard twice then skillfully avoiding capture by plucking only the bait in its lips and not the hook. Striking at fresh air I made a mental note that in future I must leave the rod to wrap right round a bit more. I think that way you are more likely to connect anyway, and can hopefully choose to ignore a few of the nuisance chub taps you receive by 'sitting on your hands' a bit.

I decided shortly after to move to another peg upstream as the swim had gone a bit dead now, so just before dark set in I moved further along the stretch to another good looking swim. This one had bushes either side of me on my near bank, and a series of large bushes and trees on the opposite bank. There was also a nice raft of twigs and branches with a crease running off it from my right far bank diagonally across the river to my left near bank. I cast towards the raft to try to get in the slack water just beyond the crease but the feeder was quickly pulled back across the current to my near bank. I waited a little while to see if anyone was home, but after no response decided to try to get to bait nearer the trees on the far bank. Again the feeder was pulled across the current which must have been due to the extra flow caused by recent rainfall and subsequent rise in levels. I still fancied my chances in the first peg so after a 3rd cast to the near bank bush on my left I moved back to where I started the session in darkness to see if the Barbel had moved in onto the few handfuls of pellets I had baited up with earlier. I gave it a further half hour or so in the earlier swim but there was no further interest from any fish so I packed up and left.

I am looking forward to my next session on this stretch as being near to home it is an ideal venue with good parking right next to the river too. I may attempt a Perch session next we'll see what the weather brings over the next few days.

Sunday 5 October 2008

Jammed on a cold dark night.

Fri 3rd October 2008

Started this weeks trip to the Dove, by being caught in a traffic jam on the A38 for over an hour!
To rub salt in the wound I was only 1/2 a mile from the turn off for Rolleston when I joined the que. This obviously set me back a bit as it was fully dark while I was still waiting in the jam. I didn't let that stop me fishing though and still made it down to the river, and had cast my bait in by 8:00pm.

I was fishing a known Barbel holding swim, casting to a bush on the opposite bank. There was no visible moon again this week which made it very dark, so I had to try to cast towards the bush using my head torch which made thing difficult to judge accurately. With the river being up a slight bit and pushing through, this made keeping the feeder in position a bit difficult. After 3 or 4 casts leaving each one in for at least 20 mins, I decided to move down to another peg where I could swing the bait out near my own bank. This time I had only made 2 casts before deciding to pack up as the temperatures had plummeted and I had not received the merest hint of a bite all evening ( which was unusual). The weather report had said temperatures would be down to 5 deg C overnight which is quite a drop from 18 the previous week.

I would like to have checked the water temp with my digital thermometer but unfortunately I had forgotten to test the batteries, and they were dead, so I don't know if the water was as cold as the air temp yet or not. I felt my tactics and casting were ok, just that the fish were not interested probably due to this northerly weather that had been set in for the past 48 hours, making the conditions decidedly wintry.
If this had lowered the water temp it would explain why bites were non existent. It's never a good time to be fishing for Barbel just as temp levels are falling rapidly into a cold snap. By the light of my head torch the grass even appeared to be frosting over on the bank and it had taken on that distinct white and slightly crunchy texture as I walked along from the first to the second peg.

So it was back to the blanking again for this session, hopefully this will only be a minor set back caused more by conditions rather than my technique ? time will tell I suppose.

Sunday 28 September 2008

Doubled up on Dove !

Friday 26th September 2008

My 4 year old Barbel PB was finally smashed last night on the River Dove with a fantastic 11lb 5oz Barbel my first ever double. This has increased the old figure by an impressive 2lb 6oz !

With the help and guidance of an old friend, Tom, I have been fishing a couple of new stretches of the river for the past two Fridays. Last night being my first successful Barbel session since starting my Dove campaign back on opening day in June! Not that the blanks matter now as it was worth the wait just to catch a magnificent fish like this.

It was quite a battle to get the fish in as I managed to let it find a bolt hole (which I now think might have been a thick weed bed) shortly after connecting with it. The swim was shallow on my near bank and gradually dropped away into deeper water on the far bank under some overhanging willows ( classic barbel territory really). It was just a case of casting as near to the trees as you could.
The bite when it came was pretty un-dramatic, after about 10 - 15 mins from casting in the tip just tapped forwards twice then pulled steadily forwards with more purpose, giving me enough reason to strike. The rod hooped right over and I was met with very solid resistance. The fish moved off downstream at a steady pace stripping as much line off the clutch as it wished at first, I could do nothing about it for a good few yards! I did manage to turn it though as I knew I couldn't just let it find itself a snag downstream. Soon after turning it and attempting to steer it my way I felt the fish head for the far bank, by this time I was giving the call out to Tom as I knew I was into something special here. Tom was round about 30 seconds later net in hand, but by now it had all gone worryingly solid ! Disaster I thought at first, but then I didn't feel as if the line was grating on a branch or any other obstruction, it was just a sheer solid unmovable resistance!

The stalemate continued for a while, then Tom suggested I try letting the line go slack, which I agreed might fool the fish into coming out of its sanctuary. I let the bale arm off and let some line out but nothing changed. Tom then said try changing the angle of the rod, so I moved to my far right along the peg into some stingers to apply pressure from that side, but still nothing. Trying not to let my growing despair take a grip I hooped the rod over pulling at the fish from my left side now instead, and as I gave it some hard side strain I felt the rod start to thump again! The rod, still fully arched, slowly began to move backwards and I could feel that the fish was free! I just heaved it across to my side of the river quickly and it was soon surfacing as the fight drew towards its end. Tom instructed to "just bully it in now" I didn't need telling twice, and a few seconds later it rolled over the rim of his waiting net. The fish looked massive to my eyes and I thought surely it had be a double? If not then I wondered just what would the fight be like from such a fish - scary ! Tom suggested it will most probably be a 10, so when those magic figures appeared on the scales of 11lb 5oz, man, I wasn't expecting it to go round that much. We quickly took the photo's and then returned her safely back to her home. I was physically shaking after and although I had another cast I was in too much of a daze really to concentrate on the fishing until we packed up about an hour afterwards.

My thanks must go to Tom for the guiding over the past two sessions and indeed letting me in on his baiting secrets by kindly supplying me with all the bait I needed on this last session. To put things into context Tom caught 7 fish that day with 2 doubles both 10's followed by a number of 9's and an 8. This just wouldn't have happened to me without him generously sharing his knowledge with me.

I must note that on this session we had started off in a different peg further upstream, where Tom had caught all his 7 fish earlier in the day. I arrived in the evening about 6:30 so Tom let me drop into his in form peg while he moved into the next one down. Unfortunately a shoal of Chub had moved in and the Barbel seemed to have gone off the feed. I caught two chub at about 3lb each on the first two casts but then it all went quite as darkness fell.
After dark a heavy mist had descended in the fields around us and coupled with the pitch black darkness due to there being no moon it became quite difficult to see where you were casting to. We sat it out there for an hour or two before we decided to move downstream near to a source of artificial light which thankfully enabled me to get in on the Barbel action too, again Tom kindly insisting I had the 'choice' peg.

Saturday 13 September 2008

You wanna see a doctor about that!

Friday 12 September 2008

Fished the Dove once again and yet again never caught a Barbel. I did however land a Chub of about 3lb that had a horrible growth on both sides of it tail.

Tench attempt at Kingsbury Millpool

2nd September 2008

Fished the "mill pool" in my favorite peg using my margin pole ( this is a peg where I first learnt to use a pole back in the early 90's )- there were plenty of frustrating tentative bites and loads of fizzing from feeding fish but none of the bites that I hit connected to any fish !! (it drives you mad)

This has happened to me here before, but I will still be back for more punishment next year to try to up the 4lb 12 oz best from this particular lake. I doubt I will ever beat my current Lake PB from here though, but I just love the challenge from this lake. I have been fishing it for over 20 years now on and off, so each good fish holds a special sense of achievement to me.

Bass Fishing in South Wales

31st August 2008

I fished for Bass in Wales at Porthcawl - I didn't catch any this time, but tested out my new popper lures for the first time. Thought they were quite impressive.

Thursday 14 August 2008

Marsh Farm (The Theatre of Dreams) Crucian Bonanza

PB's were a plenty at Marsh Farm on this session.  They are considered as pure, undiluted, pedigree, BRFC approved Crucians from this venue with a few going to 4lb plus. 

Just knowing we would be fishing amongst these standard of fish was exciting enough in itself, and although my aim of a 3lb + Crucian was not achieved I still did OK with a lovely 2.8lb specimen.

Arriving at bang on 07:30am, Steve and myself paid for our £5 dayticket and headed for Harris Lake, choosing a peg each, as recommended by the bailiff, between no's 2 and 10.  I selected peg 8 and Steve peg 5.
I excitedly rigged up my pole and baited up with some groundbait, a mix of brown and white crumb with some crushed hemp and a touch of swim stim betaine (we later realised that groundbait was banned - oops).  I chose to fish to the length of my margin pole halfway down the near shelf at about 6 - 7 m out.

With the depth being around 5ft, I tried to let my bait just hover slightly off bottom, but later found this impossible due the wind coming across from left to right creating a fair amount of drift. This made delicate crucian fishing quite difficult, if not impossible at times.

                           2.8lb Golden Beauty

However despite the tricky side wind, I caught the first fish landing a nice Roach of about 1/2 lb, this was followed by the obligatory rudd or two.   Steve was first to score in terms of crucians, landing a nice 2.6lb specimen.   I quickly retaliated with what was to be my best and almost only crucian of the day, with an immaculate 2.8lb cracker.

Things soon got more difficult in my swim with the wind conditions worsening, I was struggling to get my float to stay in one place and could not hope to have seen any of the lightest bites unless the float tip completely buried.   This is not accurate enough in this style of fishing.  I like to have my float shotted to just a mearest blip on the surface and I quickly became very frustrated.  Steve on the other hand was in full red letter day territory, fishing a more shelterd swim, he upped his PB with almost every successive fish.

        Three -  that's the magic number ! (3.1 lb)

                   The 3.6 lb summer stunner

He then went on to catch a 3.1 only to  follow it up with a 3.6 ! The only fish to spoil the average was his last of the session, a fish that probably only scraped 2lb and wasn't even weighed !
(its funny how blase you become so quickly).

 It was just fish of a life time after fish of a lifetime, and to think at the time I was actually a bit disappointed that I had only managed a 2.8!! This venue really is the theatre of dreams in Crucian fishing and they are no more difficult to catch than any other crucians I have fished for really. I am sure, and this isn't an excuse, if the wind had not caused such adverse float fishing conditions for me, I would have caught more during the morning feeding slot.

Afternoon arrived and I decided to move pegs nearer to Steve where it seemed calmer and out of the teeth of the wind.   I dropped into peg 4 and re set my float to the depth, laying on a bit this time to avoid drift. Steve by now had caught 4 crucians and a Tench of 4lb plus (that looked like it should have weighed more - it was very long but slender).  
I tried my float rod first and managed a few bites but never connected to anything. 
By now Steve was running out of luck too, he was still getting occasional bites but not able to hit them?

The wind had dropped right down now ironically, but this didn't really help matters as it only made the fish more finicky.  They must have felt more vulnerable without the broken water over their heads.
Bites came and went for both of us but soon hours passed without a catch between us.  I did manage to connect, then lose a Tench on the pole as it powered off up the lake at one stage.   The pole length ran out before I could stop the fish when I did react quickly enough and add another section on (something I need to work on!).

Finally around 7:20pm I hooked a crucian on the float rod that dived down to the bottom staying low.  I tried desperately to adjust the clutch to give some line but it somehow jammed and the hook pulled. I know it was definitely a crucian by the way it fought in that familar circular jag jag motion unique to these wonderfull fish. Next cast I hooked a 4lb Tench and landed it this time.  A few casts later and I managed another of 5.9oz.

Steve decided to pack up as light was fading after the sun sank below the horizon but I couldn't resist another cast I just had to land one more little golden wonder before I left the place.  I landed one fish, a smaller one of under 2lb but didn't bother to weight it.   I knew the 3lber would have to wait for another time.
So that concluded the trip and to say it was worth it is an understatement.  It's a great experience, I wouldn't say I would want to fish it too often as it would ruin the novelty, but it is nice to have been and tried it.  Saying that, I will probably want to go again in a season or two and catch a that eusive 3lber.

It is worth mentioning that hitting the bites in the evening became even difficult, and without meaning to contradict my earlier comment about these fish being no more difficult than anywhere else, I just couldn't hit any bites on the pole rig missing up to maybe 10 or 15 at least in concession.  Sometimes on the strike, the corn would be gone from the hook and other times not, whichever outcome, I never once felt the pull of a fish even slightly during this very frustrating spell.    As soon as I swapped back over to my float rod I connected with the very next bite easily!  although I lost this fish crucian as described earlier, when the clutch locked up and I completely messed it up.  I wonder if this was down to perhaps more amateurish pole fishing technique in terms of striking at bites, compared with my stronger and more honed ability and experience with a float rod?  Or whether subtle differences in the rig itself led to the fish being able to continually get away with it ? That's what attracts me to crucians - intriguing little buggers they are !