Sunday 29 March 2009

Early Spring Tench

Fri 27th March 2009
I fished at Kingstanding pools near Needwood today, the idea was to explore the Perch potential of the Top pool, but it ended up turning into a little Tench session with me catching two fish in the 3 - 4 lb bracket. The first fish (a female) came to the pole set up that I was intending to catch some livebait on.

The set up was just a small bristle float, 4lb main line with 3lb hooklength to a 18 hook, set to fish just on bottom. The float eventually shot away after being in for a 1/2 hour or so.

I think my consistant little and often feeding of the swim with redmaggots and occasional balls of bread crumb eventually drew the fish in. After a spirited fight with me thinking I'd hooked a small carp the fish was eventually subdued and in the net.

The second fish was caught later on in the session just before dark and on the perch float set up, with a chubber float 3aaa on 4lb mainline straight through to a size 6 hook and fished laying on. There had been a couple of dips on the float on the previous couple of casts prior to me hooking it. Then finally I recast to my dropper baited spot but this time I had cut the worm bait in half, as I figued the fish were maybe small and were dropping a whole worm.

Within seconds of the cast, the float dipped again then gradually started to move away across the surface & I struck into what felt like a good fish, "if this is a perch its a good one" I thought to myself. The fish stayed deep and jagged around near the bottom in the manner I would have expected from a decent perch, but as I raised it to the surface it turned out to be a nice male tench.

As the daily blanket of darkness was now almost complete, I had one last cast before before deciding I could no longer make out my float in the gloom. Not a bad session considering it's still only March and I even picked up a tip from one of the ballifs, about some areas to try for Perch on the canal into the bargain too - so can't wait to try those out.
The Water Temp remained around 8 deg C all session, and with the air temp falling from 8.5 down to 3.5 as darkness fell.

Thursday 12 March 2009

A Cast on the Line Catches a Nine !

Please forgive the naff title, I struggled to think of something more imaginative tonight as it's nearly midnight, I'm tired and I have just returned from another successful trip on the Trent. The session ending with me catching a hard fighting 9lb 15 oz Barbel. Which means I have now caught fish in all the weight classes from 3lb up to 11 lb.
I started off the session by trying out my new crank bait plugs in an attempt at catching a nice Perch or two. This failed to provoke any reaction, despite trying three new plugs in the best looking swims -  maybe I didn't give it long enough? I could have waited until the magic twilight spell but had to abandon this when someone else turned up wanting to fish. This promted me to quickly move to the barbel peg I had planned on fishing, in case it was taken by this interloper ! (how very dare he).
I have been used to having the stretch all to myself most of the time so far, and being that there's only a handful of fishable pegs; I didn't want to risk losing my choice of peg.

Saying all that though, when he came round to walk the stretch, he turned out to be quite helpful really. I even ended up taking a photo of an 11lb 12oz fish for him that he caught just an hour later.
The fish had a deformed spine which gave it a twisted body. He said he thought he had caught it before 2 years ago at 11.2lb, but I wonder how accurate this would be ?This type of deformity can occur from time to time and can be caused by various means. Extreme fluctuations of temperature whilst the embryo is still forming in the egg, a lack of vitamin C in early life, or fish T.B. and other such parasites can all be a cause of this condition and other fish/siblings might be affected in the stretch too?

After photographing his fish for him, we chatted for a little while about the stretch. He has been fishing it for four years or more and thought the river was stuffed with barbel, lots of them doubles. Now fired up again by this statement (as you do !)  I soon returned to my peg gagging to get the rods back in the water and I hoped my recent success wouldn't be just a lucky one off.

The chap had noted how there had been barbel rolling in his swim when he had arrived which had given him a bit of confidence boost. I had never seen this happen on the Trent yet, but had heard of it before, and was hoping to witness it for myself.

Not long after settling back into my fishing I heard a splash out in the river, two thirds of the way across were a group of about three or four fish rolling intermittently like porpoises in a single file line 20 - 30 ft in length,  amazing. My confidence now rocketed as I got that anticipation you get when you just expect the bite to come. Sure enough not long after casting in a pellet the rod tip started rattling and jabbing downwards in that " fish on " kind of way. I was soon battling with the 9lber that scrapped really hard, making my arm seriously ache by the time I got her safely in the net. It had put up much more of a fight than the 10lber I had caught the week before.

When I lifted the net I assumed it would be a heavier fish. It certainly looked the part, however the scales told a different story and bounced from 9.8 to 10.5 then just kept settling on 9lb 15oz. I re lifted the weight of the fish several times to be sure, and although it did stay on 10.1 once then it finally dropped to 9.15 again. So 9lb 15oz was accepted and my first fish in the 9lb bracket. Another cracking fish from this brilliant stretch of river.

The water temp remained steady all evening, around 9.5 to 10 deg c and the air from 10 dropping to 8 deg c.

Friday 6 March 2009

Mad March Hares

I decided to fish the Trent after work, but while I was on the M1 heading there, my wife rang me to tell me she was going out that evening at 7:30pm. This now ment I only had an hour or so fishing time. On arrival I headed for the Perch pegs, with some spinning and jigging in mind. My Rod pre set up, I unfolded it and pushed it together, set up the landing net and was all ready to go. The jig I used was a skimmer bream imitation, but didn't show up in the water too well, so I soon  swapped it for a mepps spinner with some bright red markings on it.

However after a few casts in a couple of pegs I wasn't that confident and decided to get the Barbel rods out and maybe spin near to them instead.

Once the Barbel rods were out, with meat in the middle and a monster crab boilie in the side, I didn't bother spinning as I was enjoying the peace and quiet, and relaxation  just sitting there too much to bother. After a few minutes I noticed a movement on the opposite bank, it was a hare. I watched as he (assumuing it was a he ?) scampered around for a while and didn't seem to notice me sitting directly opposite him. I took a few snaps with the camera but didn't manage to get a good shot as the zoom was a bit undergunned for the distance. The hare bumbled off up the hill and pretty soon after I saw a gooseander fly past in front of me following the river upstream. Then a while later a "dirty" black cormarant took off from the water opposite me.

On the ridge of the hill across the river I could now see two hares chasing one another, and I remembered the old adage about "Mad March Hares" and realised it was based on fact. While the hares dissapered into the distance along the ridge, I still hadn't received a responce on the rod tips. I decided a bait change was due as they had been in a good half hour and I would have to pack up soon to get back in time for my wife to go out. I wound the rods in and decided to have another go with the spinning rod. Firstly trying the most likely looking of the three perch pegs, but still got no reaction. The water was a bit too coloured for the spinner I thought. It would definatly pay to have a few more change lures in my collection especially some bright ones for occasions like this.

After a short while I headed back to the Barbel rods, and had one more cast of each. I left them only a few minutes but then all too quickly my time ran out and at 6:15 I had pack up and head back home. It was a shame really as the water temp was around 7 - 8 deg C, so I felt confident that come darkfall the fish would come on the feed, as had happened on the previous session last on Monday. Never mind I thought every session has a lesson to it, and I hope to be back again for at least one more session next week before the end of the season.

Monday 2 March 2009

Make mine a Double !

Having a few hours spare I decided to take advantage and squeeze in a session on the Trent. With help from my daughter Hollie the previous day, I had dug up a good bucket full of lob worms from my garden whilst turning over an old vegetable patch. Some of these Worms were absolute Pythons ! so when the opportunity came up to fish, I grabbed it with both hands.

On Arriving about 4:00pm I started by fishing for Perch on a feeder rig using the worms on the hook of course, and more chopped worm and maggot in the feeder. I got a bite on my first cast after about 10 minutes or so. The bobbin stuttered a few times and the alarm beeped. Eventually when it looked like a full blown take had developed I struck. Unfortunately nothing had connected, so I recast expecting some more action. When this didn't happen though, I was a little surprised.

I eventually moved up to the next peg to try another of the "Perchy" swims on this stretch, but this produced nothing either. However the odd fry leaped from the water in this swim, which led me to believe there were possibly some perch present ? I concluded that they must have been pre-occupied with the fry, and so not too interested in my lovely juicy fresh lob worm.

As it was nearly dark by now I decided to give up the Perch hunt to switch to Barbel in a peg not far down stream. I had planned to set up two rods, one on the meat and the other on a pellet or boilie. The meat rod was put together first and cast out towards the middle (I always try to keep my rods set up in the quiver ready to go). I then began sorting out the other rod, but never got any further than fixing the two rod sections together. Within minutes of casting the first rod out I saw the tip whacking over.

I struck and was met with that satisfying solid force of a good Barbel attached. She hugged the bottom shaking her head in a thudding motion. There was a second or two of confusion wen Iwasn't sure if I was gaining any ground on her or not? I then realised that she was coming in towards me at a good depth, the river must being about 8 - 10 feet in this section. With the rod now fully hooped over, I fumbled for the net and got into position ready to land her. When I looked down into the water to locate the fish, I saw she was already on the surface. Far from being ready though, with a almighty thrust of her tail she shot down deep again to my right, stripping line off the clutch. I swear I physically gasped as I held on, fearing the worst for a second or two until I regained control of her again. With the net poised I hauled her to the surface again and she slid nicely over the rim and was mine. Despite my long recital the fight was over quite quickly but this was more due to me bullying the fish in strongly to stop her reaching the snag than her rolling over and giving up. I was using an old 2.5lb TC Diawa Carp rod that used to belong to my friend who sadly died a year ago, so I was well equipped to deal with any large fish and it was good to have caught a good her in his honour. I'm know he would be chuffed knowing it was landed on his old faithful rod.

Peering down at her in the net I knew she was a good size, but I didn't want to jinx myself, so tried not to guess at a weight. I zeroed the scales and then lifted her up and transferred her to the weigh sling. Gently raising her up, I read off a very satifying 10lb 2oz. Amazing! this is my first Trent fish and it's a double, my first Dove fish was also a double, and these are the only two fish I have caught all season whilst barbel fishing, enduring many blanks along the way.By my reckoning it could be viewed as a 100% double catch rate for this season so far! (statistically speaking of course). I had one more cast afterwards but to be honest I was more than happy with the evenings result. As it was now 7:00pm I knew if I hurried I could still get home in time to see my kids before they went to sleep. ( which I did, and Hollie was pleased to hear that Daddy caught a Big Fish, not a little fish, Big fish - but no cardboard box). I packed up and went home with that satisfying buzz you only get after a succesfull session. It just goes to show that one bite is all it takes, between elation and dissapointment.
Water temp was a steady 9.5 deg C

 Fat as a barrel the fish have been on the feed recently !