Something to lift [method] my spirits (Entry 57)

After the debacle of last weeks session I was in two minds wether to actually go out this week. Maybe the car would explode on the motorway? Of course not, and there was no way I would miss a weeks fishing. That said, the lack of a pole has scuppered my plans for the coming weeks. Only in terms of how I planned to fish places of course. I will merely have to revise these. I plan to start fishing for some canal perch in a week or two and was hoping to use a pole presentation. Anyway with a few weeks to spare, I settled on heading to a venue I haven’t been to this year to try to catch some of its substantial brown goldfish.

IMG_2753An early start was in order as the weather man predicted another sunny and warm day. I felt my best chance to catch my intended quarry was to arrive just before dawn and fish through until around eleven o’clock. Everything, thankfully, went to plan and I set up just one rod with a lift method set up. Albeit a slightly scaled down version, featuring a pole float instead of the traditional peacock quill. Its something I have been messing with this year and I really like it. A little more finesse in an already very sensitive set up. I must say the calm conditions on the day helped a lot and this finer approach doesn’t work well with any tow or wind on the water. Anyway, the rig consisted of 5lb line with a hi-tech 0.13mm (4lb 6oz) hooklength. To this was tied a 16’s spade end hook in a medium wire. This would hopefully allow fine enough presentation for the goldfish/crucians but also give me a chance of landing any carp that muscled in on the act. Just as well really as the first cast produced a sailaway bite that resulted in a 6-7lb common carp. It definitely had some ghostie in it, but wasn’t a true ghost carp.

IMG_2762Needless to say it fought well above its weight and gave me a right run around on lightish gear. Once returned I fed the swim again, convinced that it would have been disturbed by the angry carp I’d just caught. I left it to settle and drank a coffee, soaking in the atmosphere as the sun broke from behind the trees. The mist danced across the surface in long, delicate columns. Slowly the pale blue tones gave way to golden orange hues and the mist melted away into nothingness. It’s amazing what happens in the space of five or ten minutes. I always feel privileged to be a witness to these things. But back to the fishing. I was using sweetcorn on the hook with a few kernels being fed every so often. I also fed a few small pellets but not too many. Just something to sit on the bottom and break down slowly, with an attractive scent trail for any ‘carpy’ type fish to home in on.

IMG_1953Well it certainly worked. I started to get plenty of bites and indications. Unfortunately they were from the fish I was trying to avoid. The small palm sized crucians. I could have quite happily sat for a few hours, catching a 6oz fish every few minutes but I didn’t want to fall into that trap. I added a foot to the rig and fished a past the feed area down the shelf into deeper water. Hopefully where any feed would have been rolling to. This went some way in avoiding the smaller fish for a while and I thought that any bigger fish would feasibly be sitting here. After just over an hour and without any more indications I decided a move was in order.

By now it was mid morning. Where does the time go when we go fishing? If only it went that quickly at work! I felt the best time to catch one of the these lovely fish had now past me by. After a quick lap I nestled into a swim with a little bay to my right. I fed some bait and moments later, in the depths through the clear water, I spotted some dark shapes moving to over the bait. One fish was very visible, a little silver ghost carp, but the two or three fish with it of a similar size looked more chunky. Could these be the fish I was after? I waited for the fish to back out of the swim and introduced the rig. A few more freebies followed it and I sat back and waited. The float nudged and dipped. A liner. Then it sank and stayed there and I struck into a fish that thumped doggedly in the deep water. It took a minute or so for me to persuade the fish to leave the depths and when I eventually caught sight of it I could see it wasn’t the intended species but some kind of common carp hybrid.

IMG_2784The fish was netted and unhooked in the margins. A quick picture taken as I returned it and the fish was soon sinking from view. It was certainly a great way to finish the session. A session where nothing went wrong! I really enjoyed fishing the lift method too and hope to use it again before the summer slips away. I’ll be watching the weather this week and this will determine what I’ll be after next week.

Thanks for reading this update. You might like to head over to my Facebook page. Once there if you ‘like’ the page, you will get all the blog, twitter and Facebook updates in one place! You can click the link at the end or hit like to the top right of the home page. Don’t forget to share this with anyone you know might appreciate it using the social media buttons below.

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Until Next time tight lines,

NorthwestFisherman

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Hardly an update at all (Entry 56)

I don’t want this weeks update to turn into a rant. I’ve not had the best weeks and to top it off the death knell was rung for my pole. Not much fishing was done at all. In fact, probably less than twenty minutes. Firstly let me explain what I was after, and tell you what I caught in those few minutes.

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With not much time to spare I headed for a club water that is very well stocked with roach, rudd, crucian hybrids, brown goldfish and small carp. I was looking forward to a laid back session and hoping to catch a mixture of those species. I planned to fish sweetcorn over a few similar loose offerings and the obligatory micro pellets. I decided upon the swim above and settled in nicely. Plumbing up to fish just up from the bottom of the marginal shelve to my right, under the canopy of the trees, I fed the swim and had a drink.

IMG_2746The first put in produced a bite and good little scrap was underway. The culprit, a little ghost carp of maybe 12-14oz. A good start indeed. Really good fun on balanced pole gear. I fed a few more pellets, too many in fact, as the next few put ins I missed a string of bites. The bottom being churned up by hungry mouths. Preoccupied no doubt by the little pellets, I switched hookbait to a small pellet and immediately connected with another fish. This time a mini common carp, no more than 3oz. Four more followed before the fizzing in the swim subsided. Learning from my mistake I fed less liberally and two lovely plump goldfish/crucian type fish followed.

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I was having fun and was sure that with time and careful nurturing of the swim, the fish would no doubt get bigger. Everything was great. Then it happened again. For about the sixth time in the few years I’ve owned it, the fifth section of my pole gave way on shipping out. Its a horrible sound. A crunchy, gritty sound. The carbon fibres tearing and ripping. It has to be said that this is the worst pole I have ever owned.

I have had it just a few years and I expected, with careful use, for it to last a good few more. I guess the fact the fifth section gave way on the day I received it should have told me something. This section was kindly replaced. It did take a month for the company in question to send it out though. I had to send it back to the shop I bought it from, for them to send it back to the company. The company then sent the replacement back to the shop, who then sent it to me. How efficient! A year later the fifth section went again in the same place. The pole was now out of warranty so I have been wrapping it in carbon every since. Now there is no strength left and its too expensive to replace. Costing a fifth of the price I paid for the pole! Madness.

Anyway, I apologise for the rant but as you can imagine I am pretty disappointed. The company in question definitely wont be seeing any more of my money in the future.

Apologies for anther short update.

Until next time,

NorthwestFisherman

After barbel, just about catching chub (Entry 55)

Just a quick update this week. Only one session has taken place and it was on a small river in search of barbel. Unfortunately, the river was fining off after a rather substantial flood a few days before. I was sure that the barbel would have gone on a binge feed as the river rose and now, on the other side of the flood, they wouldn’t feed so readily. That being said if I could find the fish I was sure of a bite. So now comes the tricky part. Finding the fish.

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The plan was to travel light and drop into as many swims as I could. I would fish a smelly halibut pellet and paste wrap on the hook. The water was still carrying a lot of sediment though this seemed to b dropping out somewhat. Where possible, in crease swims or where the pace of the river was slower, I fed the swim by hand for a few minutes with 4mm and 6mm halibut pellets before making a cast. And when I did so, attached to the lead was a PVA bag of ground and 4mm halibut pellet.

IMG_2467The picture above shows the PVA stick on the hook end as I was fishing a much slower areas behind an overhanging tree. It’s a set up I have confidence in and have used a lot on rivers carrying extra water. I arrived late afternoon and the first four swims I left fish-less. There was plenty of indications from small roach, dace and chub though. I tried a few swims with more pace, upping the lead weight to two ounces, which just held bottom. In one of the swims I had an aggressive take seconds after putting the rig in. The fish bolted, and taken by surprise, I let the rod be pulled flat. Ping! The hooklength pulled out and the fish was lost. Thankfully no tackle was lost. The fish was on for such a short time I couldn’t tell what it was but I wasn’t best pleased. Bad angling!

IMG_2471The first fish that came to the bank was a chub over three pound. It came from a classic crease swim, where I held the rig on a tight line after casting, allowing the flow to swing it under a raft of debris. I also had a smaller fish of maybe two pound from the same swim caught after feeding the swim for a few minutes after returning the first chub.

Unfortunately, those were the only fish that graced the bank. Having fished over eight swims and fishing well into darkness, the barbel refused to cooperate. It was great fun being stung by nettles, bitten by bugs and being toasted by the hot sun. I say that with a hint of sarcasm, but I do really enjoy it. On the drive home I was already looking forward to my next visit to this beautiful little river.

Thanks for reading this update. You might like to head over to my facebook page. Once there if you ‘like’ the page, you will get all the blog, twitter and facebook updates in one place! You can click the link at the end or hit like to the top right of the home page. Don’t forget to share this with anyone you know might appreciate it using the social media buttons below.

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Until Next time tight lines,

NorthwestFisherman

Every cloud has a ‘green’ lining (Entry 54)

The summer is certainly flying by. It doesn’t seem long ago that I was cursing the late spring and the patchy tench sport as a result. I love fishing for tench. Not only are they beautiful looking fish they also require a great deal of ‘working out’. As July turns into August tench can be tricky customers indeed. I was long overdue a tench session. This weeks update sees me on the banks of a cheshire pit in search of some green flanked monsters.

Untitled_Panorama1I arrived at my chosen venue just after dawn. A lap of the pit and only a few signs of feeding tench. I must admit I was a little despondent after seeing this. There is always a chance though. I finally decided on a swim and what a swim! It certainly had a lot of surface features. Maybe too many. Leading around revealed that there was a large amount of weed. Thick in some areas, shallower in others. I found two gravel areas, both quite small, and it was on these areas I baited. I didn’t fish on them though. Instead the rigs were fished onto the low lying weed surrounding them. After all bigger fish do seem to spend time on the periphery of baited areas. I also believe that the weed itself helps to disguise the end tackle somewhat, something that is of utmost importance when fishing for finicky tench, in crystal clear water.

Rig TenchWith reports from the carp anglers of ‘tench disturbing them in the night,’ there was a real possibility that the bigger fish were feeding under the cover of darkness. I tried not to let that bother me and got the rods in position. On my right rod I fished with boilies and pellets, having fed similar onto the clear patch. The rig above is the one I used. Because the weed was so short I could still get away with a smallish hooklength of around five inches. Of course, on the clear patch I could have fished shorter and increased the hooking chances somewhat, but I really wanted to fish over weed. Call it gut instinct. On the cast I felt the lead hit the gravel, dampened somewhat by the strands of weed, and I was confident the rig was fishing effectively. Onto the left hand rod. This was fished out into open water at a range of about 30 yards, a few feet up a steady slope. The weed was much thicker here, but still ok to fish over with light leads and a longer hooklength. Bait on this line would be more traditional with caster, sweetcorn and a few pellets. I changed hookbait on this rig quite often. Pellet, fake corn and casters were all tried throughout the session.

A very quiet morning passed, only disturbed every so often by a rumble of thunder in the distance. Was it getting closer? I couldn’t tell. One thing was for sure, the blue sky that had greeted me had slowly started to disappear from view. Masked by cloud. The colour of the cloud grew IMG_2422darker. Very dark in fact. The wind noticeably fresher and getting stronger all the time. There was definitely a storm coming. I took the opportunity to quickly arrange everything under my brolly and had just finished doing so when the rain started to fall. Heavy rain. Some of the heaviest rain I’ve ever seen in fact. For half an hour the wind blew and the thunder rumbled. It was one occasion I honestly didn’t want to get a run. I contemplated reeling the rigs in but the rain was torrential. I must say, being out in weather like this is amazing. I can’t quite describe what it is but seeing how powerful nature can be is exhilarating. I genuinely love witnessing these kind of things sat under a flimsy umbrella. Which leaked of course but it didn’t matter. The experience was worth it. I know it sounds stupid to wax lyrical about being sat in the rain but I can’t help it. Its why I go fishing. Apart from the actual fishing itself of course, being outdoors in all conditions is something I really do enjoy. After the storm, some 60 minutes later, I checked and recast the rigs. By now it was approaching early evening and I was expectant of a bite from Mr. Tench.

IMG_2414The right hand rod was presented in a small channel between an overhanging tree and a huge bed of lily pads. It was this rod I expected to get a bite on the most. Strangely I had seen very few signs of feeding fish here. I kept a small helping of boilies and a few pellets going in every hour or two regardless. As the evening grew older, I was resigned to a blank. The clouds were once again building up and I had to be gone by ten o’clock. With 15 minutes to go my right hand rod indicator slowly lifted. A rather tame, bream like indication. Talk about last gasp fish. But was it a big tench? I picked up the rod which nodded in defiance. Unfortunately the fish itself felt rather small. As it came up from the depths, a green flank flashed furiously. At least I had caught the intended species. It was just about 5lb too small. The fish was netted and a quick picture taken.

IMG_2449Better than a blank I guess and its good to see small tench in the water. In recent years it has suffered a lot from fish deaths and cormorant predation. Although not the big tench I was after, its certainly uplifting to see perfect little tench present. One day I might catch her again when she is a giant.

Thanks for reading this update. You might like to head over to my facebook page. Once there if you ‘like’ the page, you will get all the blog, twitter and facebook updates in one place! You can click the link at the end or hit like to the top right of the home page. Don’t forget to share this with anyone you know might appreciate it using the social media buttons below.

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Until Next time tight lines,

NorthwestFisherman

Crucians and company (Entry 53)

Off to a stillwater for this weeks update. The warm and bright conditions are still here and apart from the odd thunderstorm cooling it down a few degrees, that long cold winter seems a distant memory. Having had some success with the crucians a few weeks ago I was eager to get back fishing for them.

I wasn’t on my own this time and I had my dad in tow, or should that be the other way round? Either way, with him being far more senior than I, a dawn start was out of the question. We arrived around eight o’clock to find a few people already fishing. IMG_2358Reports didn’t sound too promising however with most struggling. The fish seemed more concerned in sunning themselves. I was still confident however, I just needed to find the right swim. By that I meant a swim that offered me some shallower water. The pit itself being largely deep, I was sure any shallower water would be attractive to some fish. If there was cover, trees or weed beds, then even better. With a southerly breeze picking up I headed straight to the north bank, where I found what I considered to be a perfect swim. My old man had other plans and found a swim in a quieter bay where he hoped he could present a sensitive waggler setup to present a classic bait combination of caster and hemp. I however would continue with a pole attack and a pellet, sweetcorn and groundbait approach. On plumbing the swim I found two areas of shallow water, both little plateaus in otherwise deep water. Even better, both the swims offered cover, my left margin swim a huge overhanging willow tree and the left margin, a small bed of lily pads and another overhanging tree. I was sure that there would be some crucians shoaled up in the shade at some point of the day, and by switching between the two I could hopefully pick one fish off at a time, and give each swim a rest in the process.

IMG_2364Because of the wind strength I couldn’t fish the hook in the loop method today. Instead I set up a standard pole rig, a 0.4gr float with a bulk at one third of the depth and two droppers underneath. I hoped this would plunge the bait past the bait robbing small rudd that were present. I fed both swims with a tangerine sized ball of groundbait laced with some small 3mm pellets, a little hemp and a few grains of corn for a little visual appeal. I decided to let this settle for ten minutes before starting. I took this opportunity to have a wander to my dad. He had set up in a swim with a ‘constant’ marginal slope. I’m sure it would have ended at some point. He was fishing halfway down the shelf in about 8 feet of water. Putting down a bed of caster and hemp, fishing over the top with a longish tail, allowed the wind to slowly edge his hookbait through the swim. It can be a devastating method, not only for crucians, but for tench and big roach. One thing is for sure though, you do have to wait for bites with this method and he wasn’t expecting quick results.

I made my way back to my swim and anticipated a similar slow start. Starting in the left margin swim, I presented a small piece of sweetcorn a few inches on the bottom. Within a minute the float slid away. I missed the bite and assumed it was from a small rudd. I re-baited and repeated the process. Again, within the minute, the float slid away. This time I hooked a powerful fish which bored for the tree roots. Too powerful to be a crucian, I assumed this was a small tench. After a frantic fight, a small tench was indeed in the net. A fin perfect example of the species and a great start. Not a crucian, but how could you not enjoy catching fish like this.

IMG_2370It took a good hour to get the first crucian of the day. The small rudd and roach were proving infuriating. I just couldn’t get a bait past them. Even a large kernel of corn was snaffled in ernest. Eventually the crucians moved in and I had a run of nine fish from the left margin swim. All the fish over a pound but only just. During this time I had been slowly feeding the right margin swim, and I planned to fish under the shade of the willow when the sun was at its highest. Before doing this I went to see how my dad was doing. He was struggling to get amongst the crucians but had caught plenty of plump half pound roach. Being his favourite species, he was understandably happy. He had caught one crucian though, a fish of just over a pound. All the fish had been falling to double caster. Back in my swim, I began to fish under the willow to my right. Straight away came tentative, shy bites. With a little bit of rig adjustment and moving the bait through the swim, in an attempt to induce the fish into making a snap decision, I hooked a few better crucians. The two best fishing weighing 1lb 10oz and 1lb 9oz.

IMG_2390In total I had 14 crucians and one tench. All the fish over a pound. I also had a fair few small rudd and roach and a very plump gudgeon. Packing up around two o’clock, I spent some time watching my dad fish for a while. He was still catching roach regularly and I had enjoyed sharing a session with him. He doesn’t get out as much as he used to now. Without his help when I was younger, I wouldn’t have learned so much so quickly. He was a great teacher. I think he can still fish the waggler better than me too but don’t tell him that!

Thanks for reading this update. You might like to head over to my facebook page. Once there if you ‘like’ the page, you will get all the blog, twitter and facebook updates in one place! You can click the link at the end or hit like to the top right of the home page. Don’t forget to share this with anyone you know might appreciate it using the social media buttons below.

Click here to go to the NorthwestFisherman facebook page

Until Next time tight lines,

NorthwestFisherman