Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Rescue Mission

This weekend the three of us went back for another try at Dovehouse pool. A nice little pool known to hold some good fish, and as we know from experience loads of Gudgeon.

We all started off with one rod fishing for carp or tench, Toby and I had both had other rods fishing waggle for the silvers. Chucking a few maggots out with every cast I didn't have to wait long for my first gudgeon of the day, here we go again I thought. My next fish a moment or so later took me a little by surprise as it was not a gudgeon but a Rudd. I recast, threw a few grubs out and waited for my float to dip under. Which it dutifully did a few minutes later this time a gudgeon again, quite a big gudgeon to fair. Next fish was a roach, then another gudgeon, then a Rudd. A pattern started to emerge well kind of, but you get the point. So im pleased to say that its not all gudgeon there are other silver fish too.

 The silver bashing was all very well and good but to be honest was not the reason we had come back to Dovehouse. With the weather starting to warm up, it almost feels like summer. This in mind we were hoping to get a bit of Tench action or a bonus carp. But our efforts so far had yielded very little result, using tactics that have been catching us fish elsewhere.

Not great at sitting behind a rod that is doing very little, Toby had gone off for a wander. While he was away Liam had a proper screaming run. He briefly connected to what must have been a good sized fish, (from the size of the swirl) before it snapped him off and left him cursing. After coming back to see what all the commotion was about, Toby asked Liam and I to follow him to take a look at something. So I brought in my lines and went off to see what Toby had spotted. We mooched round and Toby stopped and pointed at a small clump of reeds a couple of feet out into the open water, "watch this" said Toby chucking a few pellets just to the right of the clump of reeds. The reeds started to move towards the area that had just been baited. Toby explained that he had been watching this odd patch of reeds for a while, and had come to the conclusion that it must be somehow attached to a fish. We decided the best cause of action would be to try and snag the reeds, try and land the fish to set it free. This not only being very humane but also great fun on an other wise tough trip. Set up on lightish tackle nothing but a hair rigged bait band on the line, from free lining the margins. Toby managed to snag up the reeds and was into a good double figure fish, on 6lb line to reeds to what ever the fish was hooked up with. After a ten minute delicate fight we nearly had the fish at the net. But with what must have been the last of it's strength it flapped off again, freeing it's self and leaving  Toby with one hell of a birds nest.

Cutting our losses after what was turning into a hard session, we headed to Border fisheries on the way home for the last few hours before dark.  We had a go on Three Island pool for a change and it turned out to be a good move. Toby who is loving stalking the margins at the moment was on the look out for any movement in the reed bed or lillys like a hawk. Liam was having a go at getting to grips with fishing small pellets on the hook or a bait band. And alternated between cage feeder with the deadly half dark method mix half mixed pellets combo, with trusty old lob worm on the hook.  
The stalker Toby was the first to catch, good karma for his heroics earlier in the day. A really hard fighting Barbel from the margins that he thought was a carp. This was soon followed by a second and third all from the spot in the margins on the far side of the pool.

Liam fishing the waggler on peg 12, and was still struggling to catch despite his best efforts it just wasn't to be his day. We all have lean spells and this seems to be his, but the glorious 16th will soon be upon us, and the River Dane is Liam's stomping ground. It could be an omen when our friend finally did get a fish it was a Chub.

The river theme continued that evening. Not having much joy with the cage feeder to worm approach. I dropped a small loaded float into the margins over an area I had been baiting for a while with micro pellets, with a couple of pieces of corn on a quick stopped hair. My float sailed off and I was into what felt like a good fish.
 I had know idea what was on the the end of my line. Instead of trying making runs like the feisty little carp we have been catching at border, this was just moving around the bottom just in front of my feet. Not wanting to come up from the bottom of the pool, the fish I had hooked stubbornly moved round in a sort of figure of eight. My arm started to ache trying to persuade the fish up using my little 7ft light quivertip rod. After what seemed like an eternity I eventually landed a nice Barbel of about a couple of pounds. This has finally hit home that my little rod has no place with me on the Dane. It is a DAM mega match twin tip rod that is about 16 years old, that I love very dearly. It has served me very well up to now but as my friends assure me, it will get destroyed on the river Dane.

I finished the day off with a nice brace of carp from up against the island, on the feeder line with corn on the hair.  The first of which took me straight in to some snags, and I had a real struggle to free her. After much wrestling my line came free and I expected to have lost the fish in the snag. But no she was still attached and going strong, after another couple of mins the fish was landed. It was then I realised how lucky I had been, because my feeder had come off in what ever I was snagged up in.

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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Gorgeous Grange Carp

This weekend it was time for a trip to a new venue and after much deliberation we decided on The Grange from our BMAC card.
Grange fishery is a small pool just over an acre with an island in the middle, it is known to be full of carp up to nearly 20lb. There are f1's, crucians, commons, leathers and some of the best looking mirror carp I have ever seen.

It was not a bad sort of morning weather wise quite bright but there was a chill in the wind. The fishing started really slowly too. Toby's swim was first to show any sign of activity, but it was a good couple of hours before my old mate finally caught a fish. Free-lining a halibut pellet in the margins netted Toby the first of some really pretty scaled mirror carp, another small carp this time a common fell to the same tactics about twenty minutes later. And then that was it for ages, the three of us really started to struggle for a fish. I was beginning to get a little fed up, but not as cheesed off as a couple of guys who fished the other side of the pool. Despite catching a few fish each the other anglers around the pool had called it a day by lunch time, claiming it to be a real off day for the place. Liam and I had started to discuss the possibility of making a move ourselves, he had resorted to float fishing single maggot for a silver or too.Toby however having been a lot luckier wanted to stick it out, so with that we carried on after lunch.
 I made a bit a change from maggot feeder to a cage feeder, that I was filling with a sticky mix of different sized pellet. This seemed to do the trick as my worm hook bait started to get a bit of attention, my little quiver-tip started to get a few bumps and knocks. But I was missing bites and starting to get frustrated with myself. Around 3pm my rod tip lurched round and there was no missing this bite, I was finally connected to fish. I declared to my chums that this didn't feel like much of a fish, thinking it might have even been a bream as I brought it close in fairly quickly. At this point however it started to give a better account of its self not wanting to come up to the surface for quite a bit. When I eventually did get her head up, I didn't expect it to be that big. Excitedly I got her in the sling to be weighed hoping that she was finally my double figure carp I have been after for ages.

 After being weighed twice and re-weighed just in case, my fish was declared to be 9.4lb. A very nice specimen but alas still not a double figure fish. It was however the fish that opened the flood gates as we all started to catch at regular intervals. Well I say "we all " but I mean Toby and I, Liam was still struggling to get his swim going even though there were fish around him rustling in the reeds. Both Toby and I had caught four a piece before our buddy's perseverance paid off with really great looking mirror.

 This was to be Liams only carp for the day unfortunately for him, but the good fishing continued for Toby and I. We soon added a fifth and six to our tally catching a couple of nice commons and again some very nicely marked mirrors. The majority of our fish were not much over 5lb but really good fun on quite light tackle as they fight like hell, your never really sure how big its going to be until its landed.
Darkness was starting to draw in sadly bringing us to the end of what had turned into a great session for us, and carp were swirling round near the surface in front of us. Being the only one with a rod left still set up Liam and I urged Toby to flick his free-lined pellet out over a good sized fish we had just seen surface, while we waited for him to finish packing up. He gave his pellet a little under arm flick and must have put it right on to the fishes nose, the take was instant and fight was good. With the last cast of the day Toby bagged himself not only the final fish of the day but the biggest!

It weighed in at 9.6lb just an oz heavier than mine, but it seems on closer inspection to be the same fish, just fattened on all the pellets we had been feeding!
What do you think readers is that the same fish I had earlier in the day? It sure looks that way and if it was I'm telling Toby it didn't count!

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Thursday, 10 May 2012

Another 24 hours

This weekend I joined my mates at Crabmill flash. They had already spent 24 hours at the water and I was re enforcements for another 24. Their first night had been very quiet with no action for either of them, but a chap fishing a bit farther down had caught a 55lb Catfish. I started the day session fishing two rods one had a couple of big pellets on, the other my little quiver tip with a maggot feeder and lob worm. Unfortunately I didn't get a touch on either and it was turning into another rather elaborate picnic cum camping trip. As the day wore on I added another rod to the mix. This time trying a boom rig about 3ft off the bottom, with a big bunch of worms I was hoping to attract a cruising Wells.
 I then had to nip home as I had forgotten my sleeping bag, which on a night fishing trip should be seen as an essential really. I trudged back more than a little annoyed with myself just as camp chef Liam was serving our evening meal, which cheered me up.

So with better spirits and a full belly I changed my set up ready for the night session. Sticking with the boom worm rig for the Catfish and changing the pellet rig for a dead bait rig to double my chances. The small rod fishing the feeder was changed to a running lead with a big lob worm to target the Eels, and to be honest it was this rod I was most confident in catching on.

As darkness fell Toby and I were kept entertain by liam and his irrational fear of rodents. A water Vole was paroling along the bank side hoping to find a tasty morsel and if it could have heard Liam im sure it would have been very offended at being called  " A Massive Rat! "
We were having a good old laugh and Toby was just a about to turn in for the night when there was a single beep from my bite alarm, this soon snapped our attention as it had been a very rare sound all day for us all. Another single beep soon followed I excitedly got myself poised ready over the rod we had all expected would be the one with the most chance of any action, then my alarm screamed as line was streaming off the reel and I finally had a fish on.

My reward was an Eel of a couple of pounds which for the first time ever I had even managed to lip hook. Please with myself I reset my rods and turned in for the night with the faint hope that I would be awoken by one of the other rods and a huge catfish. However at 4am it was the smaller rod which had another great run and I was woken up by another eel this time much smaller more of a "bootlace".

All in all this time out it was a much better session for me at Crabmill where last time I had blanked this time I pulled out two Eels, I know that for some people that could be considered worse. Now a days the Eel is becoming increasingly rare and as such should be cherished and seen as a specimen species as far as I am concerned.

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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Still searching for that double

It was back to Robbie's pool at border fisheries this weekend as it has been fishing very well of late, In search of a double figure Carp.
And the morning started really well, with my first cast I had a great take which resulted a lovely almost golden Carp of around a couple of pounds.

I had started the day fishing with a cage feeder filled with a 50-50 mix of pellets and groundbait and corn on the hook. This method has produced some good fish from the middle of the pool, it seems however that Toby's method of float fishing corn over micro pellets tight to the margins produces the bigger fish.

The fish above was another good sized fish of 9lb that Toby has had from the same margin that was home to three 8lb-ers last week, and a cracking 18.8lb fish for our mate Liam on the Thursday. All of which fell to the same method. But I am a bit stubborn so stuck to fishing out in the middle with my swim-feeder on, occasionally changing hook bait from corn to worm then I'd have a go with meat. But the fish didn't want to feed on what I was offering. So in the mean time I changed over to the float rod and fished for some of the Rudd, which would strip me of my maggots on the drop. I was only fishing at about 8 inches deep but if I hadn't gotten a bite after a minute or so, my maggots would have gone and I just hadn't noticed. The surface of the water would virtually erupt as I flung out a few maggots its great fun, the silvers are nearly one a chuck and are great sport when the Carp don't cooperate. I was bagging up on the Rudd and some really tiny roach with my little puddle chucker float, when I caught a good sized fish for the stamp and was unsure what it was. At first I thought it was a really big roach but on closer inspection I could not figure out what it was.

I have since decided that it must be a short of hybrid but of what origin I'm not sure, I'll leave you to work it out and if anyone has ideas please let me know.
Toby was still fishing the margins with great success and pulled out some great fish again, even managing to catch one on his new idea for hook bait would you believe it a wine gum! Eventually I followed suit and tried fishing the margins for a while with the float rod. I was just moaning to Toby that it wasn't fair as my bits at the inside didn't seem to hold any fish, when my float buried and I missed it!   In went another hand full of micros and I flicked my float out, I saw a fish rooting around in the rushes at the side of me and could barely contain my excitement as I expected the float to disappear again, I sat at the edge of my seat for a few minute hoping the float would go at any time and just as I settled back down to wait patiently off went my float, and this time I connected expecting a beast. Was a bit of shame it was only a few lbs but at least I had managed to bag one from the margins and it was one that I would have liked to get a picture of, but my side kick was far too busy catching fish of his own.

Despite some good fish and even one from the margin for me, neither of us is yet to bag ourselves a double figure Carp. But it is still early in the season and yet again we had another excellent day on the bank, even if my friend is enjoying the better fishing at the moment. While I was catching the loins share of the pike over winter he did say his time would come in spring when we started after the Carp, and it sure looks like that for the time being.

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Starting to get the hang of this

Our buddy Liam joined us again this weekend, so it was back to our local club water for another crack at Robbie's pool on the Border fisheries complex. And what a session it turned out to be!
We started off early as usual arriving at the pool just after 6:30am. With mist still on the water it was a lovely looking morning and the fish seamed to be in a biting mood. Toby true to form landed the first Carp of the day with pretty much his first cast at about 7 o'clock, a lovely little common of around 2.5lb that fell to maggot feeder with meat on the hook.

I followed suit shortly after with a nice mirror which was a bit bigger, but fell to the same tactics of a small maggot feeder and piece of punched spam. The little carp from Robbie's don't half fight and I had a good old scrap on my really light quiver-tip rod and 4lb line, I was half way round the pool with this one giving it far more respect than it needed as I made sure not to lose it

I had a switch to lob worm on the hook for a while (that's what I the great one that got away on last week) and start to produce some real quality Roach up to about a lb

Our old friend Liam had to wait quite a while before he managed to bag himself a carp, but his patience was rewarded mid-morning with a nice little fellow of about 1.5lb that fell to a single grain of corn ledgered at a couple of rod lengths out.

What had started out a nice morning had become very changeable, one minute the sun would be shining the next it would be tipping it down we even had a good round of hail. As the morning wore on, when the sun shone we couldn't get a bite from the carp lines and with Rudd topping around us it was out with the waggler rods. Either set really shallow or with no weight on the line at all and maggot on the hook the Rudd near the surface were easy pickings and of a nice stamp too. A chap who was fishing across the way had hooked into a good fish on the pole and was having a hell of a time getting it up from the bottom. As we watched the action unfold Liam and I had a little competition to see who could catch 5 of the Rudd the fastest, it was great fun and I found myself getting wound up if I had to change bait. Our floats barely had time to settle before we would have another fish on, and after about 10 minutes I had won 5-3 much to Liam's disgust. It was time for round two and Toby had put the carp rod down and joined us Rudd bashing on the float. The gent over the way was still doing battle with the big carp that was stretching his elastic as round two got under way. The second little fun match was won quickly and easily by Liam 5-2-2 and after just over an hour we finally got to see what the fellow the other side of pool had hooked into when he landed a lovely 16lb common. The rain came down again so it was back out with the carp lines for us, with the hope that we could catch a cracker like that. This time I opted for a couple of bits sweetcorn on a quick-stopped hair rig and a cage feeder, which was full of a 50-50 mix of dark method mix and course pellets of a couple of different sizes. Making up my ground bait like that seems to not only do the trick with the Carp but it also makes pretty expensive groundbait go a lot further.

We started to put together a good run after lunch picking up Carp throughout the afternoon at regular intervals all falling to fairly natural baits like corn, worm, meat and maggot. Toby had five carp which seemed to get bigger every time up to just under 9lb , mostly coming in the margins over a bed of micros and with polarised glasses he could see them moving in and out of the swim. I was well chuffed to have banked my best tally of carp to date landing six over the course of the day. I had one on meat another on sweetcorn but the rest all fell to my favourite bait to use the trusty(and cheap) garden worm fished either over maggot feeder or cage feeder. Liam bagged 3 little carp and a hat full of Rudd and skimmers. All in all it was one of the best days fishing so far this year and as the weather warms up things, as they say can only get better

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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

First Carp of the season

Having still not managed to catch a Carp this season after several attempts, we fished on Robbie's pool at  Border fisheries with the hope of a change of luck. Our mate Liam joined us again this weekend too.

We all started of with a different approach this week, Toby started off on the pole, Liam the method feeder and I started on the the waggler. It didn't take long for Toby and I to get good swims going. Both of us fishing with maggot on the hook, over loose fed maggots every chuck. The stamp of Roach and Rudd is really good in Robbie's and it was great fun bagging up on silvers. Liam had started to get a few twitches on the rod as the Carp moved into his swim and found the free offerings from around his feeder. After about an hour Liam's perseverance paid off and this lovely coloured Carp was his reward                            

Not backwards in coming forwards I quickly changed over to the method feeder and stuck some corn on the hook. I'm not sure however that the fished had got the script as I started to catch some quite nice skimmers. Not the Carp I was after but my first fish using the method feeder, Its a technique that I really like using so I'm glad that its finally starting to put a few fish on the bank

Things started to slow down on the method feeder and after an hour or so without a bite, I made the change to maggot feeder with a lob worm on a quick-stopped hair. I'm really fond of this new invention and find it excellent for hair rigging worm, its also really good for punched bread.Worm started to do the business and I was soon catching some quality Roach and Skimmer Bream.
This was the pattern until my rod bent round and from the feisty fight could tell it was a Carp. Admittedly it was only marginally bigger than the skimmers I had been pulling out all day, but never the less it was a more than welcome addition to the days bag. I played it very carefully as I really didn't want to lose it and was well chuffed when my first Carp of the season was landed.
I spent a little while playing about with a pellet waggler, trying to get the hang of another new method. In the mean time Toby and Liam having both changed to a waggler were enjoying the good sport that the silvers in the pool have to offer, catching Roach and Rudd almost one a chuck.
Not having much success with the pellet waggler I changed back to the maggot feeder, to fish out the remainder of the day.
I had a cracking bite at around 5pm and my rod nearly came off the bank sticks, before I stuck into what can only be described as a "zoo creature". Which I had on the line for a good 5 minutes pulling me this way and that, I was doing quite well with the 4lb line I had on, and started thinking this could be a new personal best. It was about then that my hook link gave out and I was left gutted with nothing, other than another "one that got away" tale.
Still at least I finally managed to get my first carp of the season on the bank, and have had a taste of the big old Carp that live in that little pool.
I may be back this week to see if I can tempt that beast back onto my line........

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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Bank Holiday Bagging

This weekend we were lucky enough to get on the bank twice, and having had a couple of tough session recently, our thinking was to up our chances a little and fish some slightly easier waters.

On the Saturday we fished  Dovehouse pool  in hough nr Crewe, a small farm pool just under a couple of acres, which is known to hold some good size Carp and Tench, plus plenty of slivers. I fished method feeder with a couple of 8mm spicy sausage pellets, for the Carp and Tench, and set up a small waggler with a couple of maggots on a size 18.
It didn't take long to build up a good swim on the waggler rod. I was soon catching small Gudgeon with every chuck, keeping a steady trickle of maggots going in, I was building up a nice tally.
My Carp rod however remained very quiet. Not knowing the pool very well I cast around a bit, to try and get a feel for any features that may lay beneath the water hoping to find a fish or two. Yet all morning, my yellow bobbin didn't move an inch, not so much as even a line bite. Toby was having much the same luck using a similar approach, float fishing and having great fun Gudgeon bashing, no joy on the carp line fishing up around the island, with a running lead and popped up boilie on a hinged stiff link.
On speaking to a couple of guys who arrived shortly after us, we found out that last week the Carp and the Tench had been taking a liking to small halibut pellets.
We changed our hook bait and hoped this new advice would pay dividends. We cast back out and got back on with the very serious business of catching Gudgeon, while waiting for a run on the bigger rods. I have not had such great gudgeon fishing since I was a lad on the Shropy Union canal in Nantwich, and in all honesty it was a delight. Having had a fish-less session last time out, it was good to back amongst the fishes. The end of the day was soon upon us and we must have had a good 150 fish, all gudgeon save for one solitary Rudd.

On the Bank Holiday Monday we spent the afternoon down at Border Fishery on Three island pool. We fished on pegs   12 and 13, which turned out not to be so unlucky. Toby's rod tip was bent round with a cracking take, only minutes after his first cast. Pulling him hard into the first of this years lilies, he had a good fight on his hands on relativity light tackle. I stood on wait with the net thinking the battle was almost won, the 4-5lb mirror made a dash for under the staging that Toby was standing on, never to be seen again. After unhooking the method feeder rig from the staging under his feet, Toby cast out again back to the edge of the lilies. Using my little rod with a maggot feeder and a couple of the grubs on the hook, my quiver- tip was just light enough to show a tentative bite from small Rudd I had attracted to the swim. After putting three or four on the bank with the feeder, I started to miss bites. The fish in my swim had started to gain confidence and were trying to take the bait on the drop. With that I changed to the waggler and fished a bit shallower, this seamed to produce more bites and a better stamp of fish.

This skimmer was one of about 4 or 5 of a similar size, that I managed to bank over the course of the afternoon. Toby had hooked up and lost another carp in the lilies, so decided to join me fishing on the float. This move soon saw Toby catching a few silvers, the best of which another skimmer Bream. Yet again Toby managed to hook up another sizeable fish, only to lose it again. This time the size 16 hook wasn't up to the job and left Toby more than a little frustrated. The Carp may still be very illusive but in the end we another great afternoon silver bashing at Border.

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Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Crashed at Crabmill Flash

This weekend Toby was very keen to try out his new bivvi , so we decided to have a crack at the notoriously difficult Crabmill Flash, in search of Catfish and big Carp for a twenty four hour session.
We arrived just after 7am and had a walk round the lake to find the most suitable area, for pitching up and finding some fish. We set up camp before setting up our rods at the far end of the lake,  to maximise my chances and get a good feel for the place, I opted to fully use the three rod rule and have a couple of heavy rods out for the Carp and Cats, and a much lighter rod for some feeder fishing.

The big rods baited with popped up worms on one and big halibut pellets on the other, were cast against some reeds on the opposite bank and the feeder rod much closer in off to the right hand side. Toby nipped round the other side and laid down a bed of particles, while I catapulted some loose pellets over my rigs. And then we sat, our traps set and waited, we both felt that our best chance for the Catfish would come after dark, so during the day our rigs would lean slightly more in favour of the Carp. Toby trying Tiger nut boilies and popped up spam wasn't having much luck and I had to wait until around 1 o'clock for my first run, which came on a single 16mm halibut pellet and unfortunately when I struck into it, there was nothing there.

I continued to cast around my feeder rod, filled with maggots to a worm on the end in search of a bite, yet all day I couldn't attract anything to this line either. As night started to fall we finished the day section of trip with only the one run between us, and not a sniff at the feeder rod. So as my sidekick fried up some steak on the gas stove, I changed out the little quiver-tip for another big rod, this time baited with 3 large 22mm halibut pellets. Hoping it would be time for the kittys to come out and play we sat back and watched the sun go down over Crabmill as we tucked into steak butties.

As we began to wonder if our luck would change and maybe we would get to see a big old Catfish, one of Toby's alarms started to scream off with the sort of run we had been waiting for, filling us with excitement only for it to be dashed, as Toby met with no resistance at the end of the line.
We reset and re-baited all the rods, then settled down for the night in the new and very spacious bivvi of Toby's, hoping to be awoken to the sound of the bite detectors and the sight of a Wels.
At around midnight night Toby's alarm was off again and after stumbling around for a second, the jammy devil was finally into a fish, what we didn't expect though was the 2.5lb Eel that covered the net in slime. Still we were quite cheered by finally managing to get a fish on the bank, but still after hunkering down again we both dreamed of big Catfish as we tried to get some more shut eye, this didn't last long as yet again my buddy's alarms sounded and he made a dash for the rod, only to come back tutting and nestling down again cursing Eels nibbling at his popped up salmon flavoured lob Worms.

Toby didn't manage to get much rest over the course of the night, as ever half hour or so, either the worm rig or a hali pellet rig would get picked up, and then dropped before any hook up could be made. A good frost made me very glad of the bacon and sausage sarnies we had for breakfast on what was a cold and misty morning. We fished on as we slowly started to pack up all our stuff and load up the trusty barrow, but couldn't must another bite. As tempting as it was to stop and fish on, it had turned into a lovely morning, but we will return and have another go on this beautiful but very challenging water again soon as the legends of 60 lb Catfish and 30 lb Carp are to good to resist.

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Monday, 26 March 2012

New PB Bream saves the day

We had a really bright and warm week here in Cheshire and I was really looking forward to getting on the bank, to target the Carp and Tench at a water that I have never fished before called Bentley pool in Tarporley.

It is a lovely secluded spot set in a small wooded valley. There is an island in the middle and the water is stream fed. From the looks of it at the moment the water level is down quite a bit, but it has been a very dry winter. We started the morning fishing at the dam end of the pool, which despite the low water level was still between 6-10ft deep, thinking that this would be where the fish would be hiding, before moving into the shallower areas as the day warmed up.
It had been our intention to give the old lift method a go today, with maggot under a stick float, but due to the depth of the water we chose to fish the feeder, Toby switching between cage filled with groundbait, pellets, corn and hemp and maggot feeder, while I just went with maggot feeder. unfortunately we couldn't get a bite on either method, we toyed around with different hook baits and had the occasional cast around to see if we could locate some fish. I even tried a bit more of a technical carp rig for a while, trying a couple of pellets on a hinged stiff link, again to no avail. A couple of guys who were fishing against the island on the other side had a bit more luck with a big Bream and a 14lb common.
So with that we moved round to find some shallower water where the fish were now showing, I changed back to maggot feeder and put a big fat Lob on a size 12 hook, on my first cast into this new swim, I was just organising my seating arrangements when my 7ft quivertip bent double with a cracking take, and I was finally into a fish which was putting a good fight on 4lb line, that is until the hook pulled and I lost the fish. I found out when I retrieved what was left of my rig that it must have been a good sized Bream, from the tell tail sign of a big blob of slime on the end of my line. Know that bream are a shoal fish I quickly retied a hook and cast back out into the same area with another big worm on.
I was beginning to think that I was going to end the with nothing more than a great tan and a tale of "the one that got away". then I had another great indication as my tip bent round and I was into a fish again, It felt quite a lump and was unsure as to what it was for a while, so taking it nice and steady I was a good couple of minutes before Toby had kindly netted, what I then saw straight away was a new personal best Bream, which weighed in at 4.11lb (although I thought it was bigger!)  

For more information on rigs, set ups, bait and tackle please have a look at our brother blog

Monday, 19 March 2012

Final Pike sessesion of the season

This weekend saw us head back to Longbarn in Warrington, for what was to be our final session after Pike. We intend to give the Pike a rest now until October and target fish more comfortable in the warmer months.
We arrived at the pool at about 7 o'clock and were fishing by half past, using the same set up that has been so successful for us. A simple float ledger rig with a fresh Smelt on the bottom is irresistible to the Longbarn jack Pike

I had to wait quite a while for my first fish, it came with the excitement I always get as my pencil float cocked itself and started off on a run, only to be stopped by me setting the hooks.
It felt like a good fish as it tugged back, and took a while to get to the surface, but alas it was just another really hard fighting Jack of around 4lb, that made another break for freedom, as I had him at the inside about to grab the little fellow. Successfully landed and a quick picture taken the fish was returned none the worst for wear.
There was another long interval before the next bit of action, as Toby was enjoying his lunch he noticed a small float appear, on the far side of channel between two islands. I had a good luck at it with my binoculars and saw that it was a massive waggler, which we presumed was a lone float wandering on the wind, until Toby watched it shoot under only to reappear a bit closer to us. Now convinced there was a fish attached, Toby attempted to cast his line over the float to snag it, which he very skilfully did on the second try, and connected to what was now most definitely a fish!
Putting up a good struggle we thought it was a good sized carp at first, due to the over sized waggler it was underneath, but as Toby continued to play the fish when it got closer we saw that it was a Pike. Now our thinking was, somebody had been using regular waggler tactics and a Pike had hit a fish they were bringing in, which could well have snapped them off. When the fish was finally landed after a very careful fight, all became clear as we tried to unhook the fish from a two treble hook rig, which had been attached to perfectly shotted 4AA waggler, on about an 8lb main line. Toby worked magic with the forceps, while I held the fish, she went back into the water in a big specimen net for a while to recover before we grabbed a quick pic and returned the Pike to the water, now able to feed and without a float and about 3ft of line attached to live a healthy and happy life.

I had another couple of fish (as you can see below) before the day was out, one to a lamprey section injected with a bit of salmon oil, and the bigger of the three, a good 5lb falling to the old faithful Smelt. It was quite a long fish and when I first saw it in the water I thought maybe it could have been close to the double figure fish I have so longed to catch from this water, but no it was a long lean and quite mean jack of nearly 6lb.
Never the less it was a good fish, and a great way to end our first season of pike fishing, which only started in December, Since then I have landed 11 Pike including a good double of 12lb, they may all have been from what are fairly easy waters, but I now have some great experience and knowledge in catching and handling these fantastic creatures, which come this winter I will be putting to good use in attempting to catch a specimen from a river and having a go with some lures and spinners.
 But for now we turn our attention to Tench and Carp, and some sitting behind the buzzers waiting for a monster 

For more information on rigs, set ups, bait and tackle please have a look at our brother blog