Wednesday 27 May 2009

Quick its all kicked off ! ... OK or maybe not..!!

After finishing an exam in the morning for my Construction Course, I was in urgent need of a wind down, back to the Tench lake I went again arriving about 1:30 pm. This time I was in a peg I'd never fished before on the north east bank. I had been baiting up a swim over a gravel bar with hemp, castor and dead maggots for the previous four days. The afternoon weather was overcast with a warm westerly breeze blowing across the lake straight towards me. I fired in about 10 balls of groundbait and spodded in another 1/2 gallon of hemp, pellet and corn over the area before setting up my rods.

After an hour I stared to get the odd bleep, and then suddenly the left hand corn rod took off. I struck and was pleased to feel the fish was on. It came in straight at me and didn't really fight that much doing a good impression of a Bream, however when I got her head up on the surface it turned out to be a Tench after all.

The fish weighed 4lb 1oz and was in good nick but was quite wiry curling its body up and making it difficult to get a good photo of her. It looked like quite a young fish to me and I could see no evidence of any sporn. I put her quickly back and recast the rod.

Straight away I had a dropped run on the RH fake maggot rod and as soon as I had sorted this rod; the fake corn did the business again on the LH rod. I struck into what felt like a better fish, it kited to my right and headed up the lake. I must have been a bit too heavy handed trying to turn it as I felt the disappointing jolt of the rod springing back at me when the hook pulled! Never mind I thought, just get the rod back out there quickly while they're still feeding.
I brought the maggot rod in to change the rig over to a piece of fake corn. As I was in the process of doing this the other LH corn rod was away again! This time I heeded my earlier lesson and gave the fish some line and allowed it to run for a while. It kited to the right in the same direction as the earlier fish I'd just lost and was soon in towards the bank to my right, heading under an overhanging tree. Now was the time to give it some "stick" or risk being snagged, so I bullied the fish away from the tree – praying!

The fish stayed deep generally, but I did see a boil on the surface under the tree's branches at one stage. Thankfully it started to give in and came towards me and the waiting net. After a little tussle in front of me, again staying deep, the fish finally relented and rose up through the surface layers and into the net. It had put up a good fight, more like a Carp than a Tench and I soon realised why when I saw the size if it's fins.

At 5lb 9oz it's by far the largest male fish I have ever seen, let alone caught. So I now had a Male Tench PB of 5lb 9oz, which was a nice bonus.

I had been texting Steve with progress updates, whipping him up into a frenzy, when I spoke on the phone shortly after the capture of the male. He said he would be bringing his float rod down for a quick session that evening.

The second fish had been landed an hour after the first at 4:15pm, and the action continued for a while with a few more dropped runs until about 6pm when Steve arrived. The wind had picked up by now and the temperature was dropping slightly. I caught no more fish and only had a dropped run on the RH maggot rod by the time I packed up at 10pm. There had been no further noticeable activity over my baited area but in the next swim along to my right I saw about 6 or 7 fish rolling at dusk. These were at about the same range of 30 yards out and one or two of them looked quite decent, so I guess they had moved on, my bait not enough to hold them.

Steve blanked in the next peg on my left, which is a pity as it could all have been so different if the fish had headed his way. Still, yet another lesson learned this one about feeding spells. The feeding spell I had enjoyed was from about 3pm through to 5pm before the fish started to move on.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

The Pre-baiting begins....

Tue 19th May 2009

I visited the Tench Lake again but unfortunatly blanked this time. All was not lost though as I started off a Pre-baiting campaign on a new peg Steve and myself will be fishing over a few sessions. The swim has a deep margin of 8 ft that gradually slopes up to about 5 or 6 ft by 30 yards out, after this it levels out to a bar of a couple of feet deep, before dropping off again on the other side at 40 yards plus.
I baited two spots, one with a cast to my left at around 75 deg near to some clumps of weed 30 yards out. The second spot in the near margin to my right just an under arm chuck away, near the bottom of the shelf in about 8ft of water.

The weather was cool with a strong southerly wind blowing straight in my face which caused a chop on the surface. There were no bites forthcoming for the first few hours and then only some liners later on. These I assume were fish moving across the swim at a point probably half way between me and the baited area, because the line coming from the feeder back to the rod would be well sunk until about that point I'm sure. I also recieved a liner on the margin rod, all of these coming during the last hour of daylight.

Darkness finally fell at around 9:30pm and I packed away a bit disappointed but never the less optimistic for the coming sessions on here. The recent cold spell of weather has possibly slowed down the feeding activity of the fish on the lake? I never saw any Tench rolling anywhere on the lake all session and only saw two fish splash, one of which was a Roach or Rudd. The other fish surfaced over the baited area in the margin and seemed quite large. I didn't see what it was and only heard it splash but I saw the large ring pools it left in its wake. It could quite well have been a Pike harassing some Roach or small Tench feeding on the bait I had thrown in? Usually when a large Bream or Tench rolls you don't hear any sound, it is more like a dolphin porpoising unless, like you sometimes witness with Tench and especially Carp, the fish breaches half out the water and splashes down onto their side.

I will also be baiting a gravel bar that I have located in another peg about 100 yards down the lake. At the moment I think the plan Steve and myself have made will be to concentrate on these two areas over the next few sessions, all depending on the results we get over the next couple of weeks.
Steve has already been out to continue with the baiting of this swim, and I will be out over the next day or two to start pre-baiting the gravel bar I found in the other peg.

Note: Sun 24th May Steve fished the same peg but blanked, he said he had fish bubbling on the gravel bar and saw Tench rolling there at dusk over the bait. He had nothing from the margin swim, however When I was there in the morning prebaiting the other gravel bar, we saw a (possible) Crucian jump over the bait at about 8:00am (hmmm...interesting). It looked a good fish at least 2lb +

Friday 15 May 2009

The new rod gets a nice and damp Christening !

I fished a tench lake that has been very kind to me in the past. I arrived at 3:00pm and set up my marker rod first. The weather was sunny and reasonably warm (well I was in a tshirt )The area in front of me gradually sloped away to about 7 ft depth. The bottom was fairly uniform made up of gravel with a slight covering of silt in places. The only thing to avoid was the fronds of Canadian pond weed that were starting their annual climb towards the surface. I found a patch of gravel that had a little weed but not enough to cause me a problem.

Next I catapulted 10 balls of ground bait out to the marker float, made up of brown crumb and swim stim green betaine. The final ingredient was to spod out some corn caster, maggots and hemp and the banquet was set. I used a 2.25 lb TC carp rod which I has a nice progressive action and is alot more accurate than my other 3lbTC spod rod that is like a broom stick in comparison.

The first rod on the baited area was my new Greys Prodigy Specimen rod that was on it's debut outing. I set it up with the 2lb tip section to handle the weight of the fox 2 oz method feeder. The hooklink was a 3" length of 15lb sink link braid with hair rigged rubber corn on an T6 raptor hook in size 10. The second rod (Prodigy Barbel 1.5 tc) was rigged with a drennan in line maggot feeder, with a short braided hooklink as before except with a Korum S3 hook in size 14 balanced with two rubber maggots. I also added a pva ball of casters on the hook each cast.

The method rod was in by 4:00pm, with the second maggot feeder rod in by about 4:30pm as it needed setting up from scratch. These were left in until five thirty and were both recast back in position again by 5:45. Ten minutes later and I had seen no sign of any fish in my swim, the only activity was about 70 yards out to my right. The weather was now cloudy with both dark grey and white areas and felt quite muggy, light rain was falling now.

Just after seven o'clock it started to rain proper followed by a bit of a take about 10 minutes later but as i started to shift my weight to get up off the chair the take stopped and the bobbin stopped rising. The hook had not found its target for whatever reason ? Still it was some action at least and a clear sign that there were fish in the swim now at least. Fingers were crossed for another take.

By 8:00pm I had only had a small bleep on the method rod again straight after another recast. I also changed the rig on the maggot feeder from a popped up double maggot grub to a couple of rubber caster grubs instead, to see if that provoked any interest? It had been raining solid for a hour now and was quite heavy at times. It was nice to know my umbrella still does its job after twenty years plus(amazing). I shall only get rid of it when it finally decides it's had enough and falls apart ! I do want to get myself a shelter though, something like a Fox evo or similar.. for those more lengthy sessions I occasionally do into the small hours.

20:06pm and it finally stopped raining (hooray)hopefully the fish would feed now I thought. It wasn't long before they did, as at 20:35pm I caught a 4lb 7oz lovely female Tench with a beautiful rich orange belly the colour of a honey dew melon.

There was one more aborted take after this and so I will be checking that rig closely in my test tank for any obvious flaws?
The rain had started falling heavily again so I started to pack my tackle away. By 9:00pm I was more or less ready to go but with one obligatory rod left in right to the last minute. I couldn't help thinking but for the rain I would have had a few more takes. The fish had definitely moved onto my bait and were responding well to the corn and method rig but the heavier rain did seem to put them off their feeding.
The maggot/ caster rig never received any attention all session. This might be because the fish haven't seen any maggots over the winter months, and apparently according to the bailiff I am the first to fish for non predatory fish so far this spring.

My attempt to give an arty atmosphere to a nice shot of the right hand flank of the fish ! Really it was in an effort to try and improve the shot. I have discovered over time that you have to be careful taking shots in low light levels, like at dusk. Often when using the self take facility on digital cameras, this function can cause the camera to struggle to get a good focus in such conditions. I need to read up on the subject more and see if there is a trick to improving the problem? Other than that I find you get better shots in full daylight or even in full darkness rather than the low levels of dusk or twilight.

Wednesday 6 May 2009

Pwllheli Bass fishing

Sunday/Monday 3rd -4th May 2009

I was on holiday in Pwllheli, Wales for the weekend with the wife and kids and so not one to miss an opportunity, I packed a rod and a few lures in the hope of sneaking in a Bass session.

I managed a quick 10 min session on the Sunday afternoon as we went to see the beach and even saw a couple of fish topping within casting range, but there was no interest in my lures.

These were Poppers such as Storm Chug Bug and Yo-zuri or Rapala's (shown in photo) and also the classic Bass lure the Dexter wedge, (not shown) on which I caught my first (and only) Bass last year in Cornwall.

On the Monday morning I was up at 4:30am to fish not long after the top of the tide, it was only just starting to get light as I started fishing. I like this time though, as it's a great time to be on the beach, you have the whole area to yourself. There's just you, the sea plus the various bird life moving about at that time, it really feels like you having an "at one with nature" kind of experience and is defiantly worth losing the sleep for.
I saw a fish top not long after arriving and near to where I was casting to but despite covering the area well, there was no take !! I saw another fish a short while later but again no interest in the either the Dexter wedge or the popper lures. My only regret from this session is that I didn't try the jointed rapala plug earlier, as it might have been the right pattern for the day ? who knows? The fish had probably moved on by the time I tried it anway, which would have been move than an hour after high tide by this time.

One thing I do know is I'd love to catch another Bass on this method it would be a great buzz to get another one now I've tried for them a few times. I will be defiantly trying again next time I'm at the sea.

Tuesday 5 May 2009

I didn't even realise it was a bite !

Friday 1st May 2009 I was Zander fishing on the canal again this week and decided to have a good go at catching one using a lure. I walked to a different section of the canal fishing from the remaining abutment of an old demolished bridge, then worked my way back up to a busy marina trying out several lures in the process. None of them had induced any takes despite me trying some extremely tasty looking spots with overhanging trees or other features such as boats and reed beds. My favorite lure was an green perch imitation jig that seemed to be the right weight for casting and behaved well in the water to my eye anyway. The fish didn't seem to agree though but it also appeared they weren't too keen on any of the other lures I tried either, be it a plug or jig style. I will be pleased when I finally catch something lure fishing to boost my confidence, as I have tried a handfull of times recently but not had any results as yet.

For the second part of the session I fished two rods on a float set up, with roach or sprat sections on the hook. I decided to cast to a new swim on my way to the swim where I caught before and I had a take first cast. The float appeared to be drifting along just after I had cast it in as if there was some under tow pulling it (such as when a lock is opened further up the canal). While I was getting my other rod out of the quiver, I saw the float bob and move, which I knew meant it was in fact a take.
I picked up the rod wound down and set the hook. The fish shot up the canal to my left then I played it back and netted it quite quickly after a short but spirited fight. I obviously hadn't realised it had been a bite on the drop.

At 1lb 15oz it was my second Zander and had taken a Roach head on two size 10 trebles.

I moved a swim further up after a little while as there were no more takes in the first swim and caught another baby Zander at about half a pound. He had scoffed half a Roach, just goes to show what aggressive fish they are.

After the second Zed I continued along the canal to the natural end of the stretch near to another old dismantled bridge. I had a few inquiries along the way but nothing that developed into a take. I did manage to spook a large fish that lives under a small overhanging bush and will be back to investigate further later in the year.