Well the fishing is really hard at the moment, and I’m sure like a lot of other people around the country, I’m struggling to catch a fish. There are opportunities everyday, on every venue where fish will feed but at the moment I’m missing them. When I’m there I’m not finding the fish. Or Im not there at the right time. These are not excuses by the way, just me trying to make sense of a bit of a lean spell. I know it might not be very exciting to read about someone not catching fish but these are things we will all go through as anglers. Those times when things just don’t seem to be going right, when you are left scratching your head. We have to learn to accept them, and while sometimes the conditions really can be against you, there is always something that can be taken away from a blank session or two.
Most of the waters I want to fish at the moment have been frozen over for a few days before this weeks session so after two or three mild days preceding my visit, and with air temperatures reaching the heady heights of eight degrees, I decided to head to a fairly shallow and well stocked lake on my clubs card. My thinking was that the shallower water would be warming up faster than water with any significant depth and, coupled with the longer daylight hours we have now, there might just be a fish seeking some food when the sun is high. Maybe a carp, or even better, a tench. With the water being small, my approach would be a simple waggler set up, slightly stepped up to allow me to hopefully steer any fish away from the numerous snags present.
I opted for a swim with two likely looking areas that screamed fish. Brambles, islands, ledges, and I was on the bank that caught the sun all day so I was optimistic that as the day warmed up, I would be in with a chance of some fish being in my area of the lake. The swim to my right had a significant snag in it so my 5lb mainline was upped to one of 7lb which allowed me to fish a slightly heavier than anticipated hooklength of around 5lb or 0.15mm diameter. Float would be a homemade straight peacock to counter the strong undertow and choppy surface and also, support my heavy bait of sweetcorn without being pulled under. There was nothing complicated about the rig, just the bulk of the shot under the float and a strung out bulk of number nine stotz to set the float so it was just a dimple on the surface. Three of the stotz were set on the bottom to hold the rig as still as possible and using two or three smaller shot is better than just one large shot.
After feeding twelve, 4mm pellets in each swim I rotated my rig around the two, fishing each for around 15 minutes. After an hour of doing so the float slid under slowly and I struck into a heavy fish that initially just hung there. Sensing an opportunity to steer the fish away from the snag (yes, it was hooked in the right hand swim near the tree), I attempted to reel a little line in before hopefully coaxing the fish to the left. This slight lessening of pressure saw the fish surge hard for the snag, and I saw a huge, white paintbrush tail thrust downwards and out of sight. The water boiled angrily. I was in the process of losing a fairly decent golden tench. Disaster! A few seconds later the fish had transferred the hook to a tree branch and it was gone. At least I hadn’t left the fish tethered to any end tackle, and out came the tea, so I could stew.
Whilst I sat there and pondered why I bother, I focussed lazily on the waggler I was using now resting in the margins. It dawned on me that it was 15 years old, my dad having made it for me to fish a local canal for tench when I was in my last year of high school. I remembered the first time I used it and the tench I caught on it, only a three pounder (pictured below) but it’s still vivid in my mind. So too, the day I landed my first double figure carp, again using the same float on a weedy lake in Cheshire. This is why I bother, I thought.
It had been around 90 minutes now since I had initially fed so I topped up each swim with a few more pellets. By now although the sun was warming both me and the water, the wind had picked up significantly and was making it very hard to present a bait well. I added more depth the the rig and pushed a few more shot on the deck. This helped combat the undertow somewhat and the buoyant material of the float kept a tiny bit of the float visible in between the ripples. Or should that be waves? Around thirty minutes later the float slowly sank once more. I hoped I wouldn’t make a mistake like I did with the first. My quick strike met resistance, lightning quick resistance that was once again making its way for the same tree as before. I tried in vain to stop the fish but once more, in a matter of seconds, my hook was transferred to tree branch. It was obvious now that with the extra line on the bottom the fish had more time than usual to feel something was wrong and start their bolt to safety before I saw any registration on the float. It took two lost fish for me to realise this though. Not the finest bit of angling I’ve ever done.
After losing the second fish I decided I was putting hooked fish in too much danger, not being able to stop them reaching the snag. I began to fish on a different line a good rod length away from the snag. I didn’t have anymore bites though. The wind was now almost gale force; it probably wasn’t, but it sure felt that way. The sun began to sink behind the trees and the air once again had a definite chill to it. Even though I had not managed to land a fish, I was pretty happy to have worked out where the fish were on the lake. Next time I’ll land them too.
I’ll hopefully have caught some fish for my next update so please remember to follow my blog, click the follow button on this page or on twitter (@northwestfish) and you’ll be notified when the site is updated, which is every saturday. Thanks for reading,
Until next time,