Tuesday 27 March 2012

A trip to Hanningfield - full of eastern promise

It's my 40th next week, so to herald in my impending middle age a trip to Hanningfield reservoir in Essex was arranged with some of the other bloggers. The aim of the trip, apart from the capture of a potential record perch of course, was to at least get a bend in the rod.

So on Saturday after a mad morning dealing with kids, missing keys (long story) and last minute tackle buying in the shape of a new Abu Garcia spinning rod and some 20lb braid I was eventually ready, so headed "oop north" to pick up Leo off of  fishermans journey from his house then headed "daarn sarf" to Essex to to meet up with Keith and Jeff for an overnight in the hotel at Basildon near to the venue.
We were soon in the pub supping Guinness when the news came over the wires via a text to Keith phone of Danny's four pounder ! Our collective desire in a landing a Hanningfield perch was suddenly focused just that little bit more I reckon.

The morning was here soon enough and we eagerly headed over to the water via a maccy d breakfast on the way. The crowd of anglers waiting at the fishing lodge on our arrival at 6:30am no 7:30am (clocks went forward overnight !) was a bit of a shock. I felt like were were here for some kind of international event or contest ? A large crowd of excited East Europeans were champing at the bit to cast their delicately balanced pike bobs tied to 40lb mono at the lakes waiting rainbows. I've seen some crude rigs in my time but blimey some of these chaps must catch fish despite themselves ! At nearly £30 a go to fish from the bank at least they were quite willing to pay for the privilege of taking their fish home rather than ignoring our rules as they are generally portrayed.

The morning fog meant that the boats would not be allowed out until it had lifted enough to see across to the other bank, but this wasn't too bad as we were able to bank fish until it did, and besides our boats were pre booked so there was no need to worry about missing out. The other lads had arrived by now so we all headed off to the other side of the reservoir in search of something to cast at.  I'm no lure angler but I have dabbled in the past here and there so I know enough to give myself a reasonable chance I hoped and after watching the others for a little while I set up a light spinner and started flinging it about in earnest.

Soon enough though a text came in from Leo saying he'd lost a small trout further round towards the water tower, I'd not seen sign of a fish yet so 'never to look a gift horse' and all that I headed round to poach his swim.
Luckily there were plenty of trout topping in this area  just 30 yards out with enough room for all us to thrash the water to foam.  Keith and Jeff were both trying drop shots nearby but Leo had now caught a 2lb  trout on a small mepps spinner that he'd weighted with a small lead bead to get some extra distance.  I found a cheapo spinner gold with red spots from one of those tacky Aldi kits I'd bought on a whim once which seemed just heavy enough to reach the fish. I tied it on, cast it out and got a hit straight away ! the fish bumped off but suddenly I was snapped into full fish catching focus. Several more casts and more bumped fish later I was getting a bit frustrated, maybe it was the hooks ? no they seemed sharp enough to me, maybe it was my technique ? I cast again wound slowly as I had been doing all along then bang FISH ON !

After a spirited little scrap it was in the net. It was a great feeling to get the first fish under my belt and we hadn't even got out in the boats yet ! I must admit I'd doubted that if we had a chance from the bank - how wrong was I.  With the fog now lifted enough it was time to head back round the reservoir to the the lodge to venture out on to the water.

After an slightly eventful launch from the pontoon we were finally out in the deep water wondering where the hell to start, of course we headed straight back to the water tower to try to add to our 8 fish limit.

The fishing was quite slow at first but then I bumped another couple of fish before Leo managed another one for the pot. We decided a move was in order after a spot of lunch and as we left the area Jeff had landed his first to the drop shot worm.

We headed across the expanse again to the far NE corner staying over the other side for a while casting at different likely looking areas. I finally got a hit and my second fish was landed after a lively fight, the fish punching above its weight.

The last part of the day was spent blasting back and forth across the reservoir to try different areas but we never found a more consistent spot than the areas around the water tower bank so the final hour was spent drift fishing towards the nature reserve where we both had a few more hits, only Leo managing to land one of them.  I missed out on a couple more fish to a small plug, one fish leaping clear of the water as it spat the lure out!

It was a great day out and something I'd definitely try again sometime maybe a bit closer to home though.  As for the perch well it would be a lucky man who found them in that inland ocean ! I was happy enough just annoying the trout with my spinner all day to be honest.