More or less river carping (Entry 61)

A short update this week owing to the fact that I have been after river carp again. Without any success I might add. I am certainly learning about the river, and to a degree how to adapt rigs to suit the conditions I’m faced with. Put simply though, I’m just not finding any fish. That is the problem. My pre-baiting doesn’t seem to be working or maybe I just haven’t give it long enough yet. Either way I’ll take you through the week by means of it being a record more than anything else.

IMG_2881These are the kind of swims I’ve been looking for and baiting. A mass of tangled branches, roots and debris. They overhang the water quite a way and therefore allow me to bait an area upstream (towards the left of the photo) and place two rods downstream of this at varying lengths. One rod usually within a few metres of the baited area and the other further away (towards the right of the picture). Usually this rod is placed up the shelf in shallower water. This shallow water is still five feet, the depth in the middle of the river can be anything up to twelve. Anyway, I have been baiting up with a mixture of hemp and very finely liquidised tiger nuts. Some pigeon conditioner has been used to bulk up the mix a little and keep costs down. This has been going on the spots over the last eight days, every other day, during which time I have not fished.

IMG_2889When I have been fishing a swim I have been feeding a small amount of hemp and a few whole tiger nuts. Then presenting a running leger over the top with a critically balanced tiger nut on the hair. As said earlier the bottom can be silty in the deeper areas and choddy in the margins so I’m positive the bait will be resting on top if this and visible to any carp. The rigs have been left in the swim for three or four hours before I head to a different swim and repeat the process one more time, twice if I have enough hours left.

IMG_2898So I have covered quite a lot of ground now and fished a few different swims along this length that once held a lot of carp. They have to be much thinner on the ground than they used to be. In the hours I have been fishing I have only seen one fish roll that was remotely ‘carpy’. It made a large bow wave on the far bank margin. Although I only saw it peripherally the fish had a dark brown back and long dorsal. I’m pretty sure it was what I was after. I tried casting to this fish with a PVA bag and a scattering of freebies over the top but no bite resulted.

I am going to keep the bait going in for one more week and hope that, as I have said previously, I am in the right place at the right time when a carp is feeding on one of my baited areas. Got to keep positive I guess. It will be worth it in the end. If nothing happens in then next week or so I will have to once again put it on my to do list as there’s other species I want to turn my attention to.

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

Driftbeater distraction (Entry 60)

This weeks update sees me not after carp, though they’ve not been forgotten, but bream on a cheshire mere. They go to good sizes and although I have never fished for its bream, I have seen them caught, certainly above 8lb. Lets be realistic though, I wasn’t expecting to bank one of these on my first trip, especially using the method I had chosen. Don’t get me wrong, the method is a good one and its certainly an enjoyable one to use. It will work for the bream too. No, I was more concerned with finding these bream or their patrol routes. But, and it is a big but; would they feed in daylight?

IMG_2856The method itself would feature the use of a driftbeater float. Just something different to chucking out a method feeder or suchlike. A bulk of shot two feet from the bottom, with two large BB shot anchoring the float in position. The float itself is set around ten inches over depth and set to a dot by carefully winding the float down. A bite will either be a pronounced lift or it would simply disappear from sight. Usually the former. There really isn’t too much to the method. Apart from changing the length of hook length to suit how the fish are feeding. Sometimes it can be as little as three or four inches, but if the fishing is hard then I have no problem putting twelve inches on the deck. Its another case of trial and error and learning from it. Fully expecting to catch later in the day, if at all, I had a lie in until nine o’clock (imagine that) and took my time getting everything ready, cooking a good meal before I left. Eventually sometime after eleven o’clock I arrived at the water. To find it pretty much full with carp anglers. Damn. Not much had come out in the night was the general consensus. Unfortunately with the swims offering deeper water already taken I had to re-think. A little disappointed I settled on fishing a smaller, but deep water just behind the intended water. Tactics would remain the same.

IMG_2858It was better than heading elsewhere or indeed sitting at home. Swim settled upon and depth found, in went five orange sized balls of groundbait laced with 2mm and 4mm pellets, a few larger ones and a helping of sweetcorn. I planned to fish pellet, corn or a large dendrobaena on the hook. I started on corn, two grains in fact. With the rig in the water and set, I settled back, sure I would be in for a wait. Again, the hardest part is finding where these bream are and getting them feeding. They seem very nomadic and don’t spend too long in one area. Other possible species are tench which grow to a similar size and a small head of carp to low double figures, with the odd grass carp too.

IMG_2854On the far bank I watched a heron hunting small fish in the margins. He seemed to be struggling, as did the other anglers on the water. Just a few small roach and gudgeon making an appearance. I had been fishing for roughly an hour when I changed bait to a pellet. I had been casting every fifteen minutes or so to different parts of the baited area. Only one little indication to show for it. Probably a small roach or rudd. Another twenty minutes went by and I reeled in once more and changed to a worm. Splitting in half and hooking both sections I recast the rig. To my amazement the float immediately lifted. I struck and a healthy bend formed in the rod. A powerful little fish made its best attempts to find sanctuary. It felt almost certainly like a small tench. A minute later it came up through the deep water and was in the net. On a slow day I was very pleased with this little 2lb tench caught on a traditional bait so synonymous with the species. The humble worm.

IMG_2849Over the next few hours very little happened. There was the odd quick lift of the float but nothing positive. No feeding activity, and not very many fish showing. I did see one tench IMG_2851roll late afternoon but other than that the lake was in one of her moods. I decided to fish until dusk however. The countryside is so peaceful around here, apart from the odd passing car or group of cyclists on a trip out. About half an hour before leaving I hooked another fish, again on worm, which fought a lot less frantically than the tench. A bream for sure. Not a huge fish at a guess around 2lb in weight but it put a happy end to an otherwise tough day. I would have much rather had been on my intended water but at least I caught a few fish regardless. Another River carp episode next time I think. Hopefully the cool nights will hold off a little while longer. I’ve been steadily introducing some feed in certain areas. Hopefully it’s not gone unnoticed by the carp. I might try some tiger nuts on this visit and I’ll be fishing mobile working on the basis that if I have not had a bite in a pre-baited area in two hours there’s probably not any feeding fishing present. I can only hope I drop on some fish!

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

Trying to track down river carp (Entry 59)

Something that has been on my fishing to do list for a few seasons is to catch a river carp. I’ve had them from stillwaters and from canals but a river fish has always eluded me. That being said I could count on one hand the sessions I have devoted to them. It was time to put a little more effort in then. I knew what venue I would be fishing, the Weaver near Northwich, and I had a good idea about sections that used to be good for them.

old_HartfordYes, used to be. Apparently these fish were stocked in the late seventies/early eighties and for a few years after the river was full of small carp. In fact speaking to my dad a few days before the first session, he dug out a picture from the early eighties featuring himself and a lovely proportioned little common. Caught on the ‘flat float’ fishing caster down the edge. Anyone who knows the Weaver will not be struggling to work out the length he caught this fish. The dredger length with its blue bridge, still a landmark to this day. A quick search on the internet will throw up divided opinion on just how many of these carp are left. Ever the optimist I decided there must be a least some. Although probably a lot thinner on the ground than they used to be. But still a chance. So three days before my first session I cooked up a particle mix of hemp and pigeon conditioner. Added to this was a little corn corn and the whole lot was allowed to soak in the juices and oils for 24 hours. The morning before the session I baited three areas I fancied and planned to return the next day to fish. I did debate adopting the mobile approach. I’m used to doing it on rivers in the winter after chub but I decided to try something different. Baiting and waiting so to speak. If the first session proved fruitless I would simply bait up on leaving and return in a day or two to try again.

IMG_2817On the day of the session I arrived just before dawn and had a look at the three areas I had baited the day before. The first two areas looked suspiciously quiet. Due to the rivers depth I couldn’t see if any bait had disappeared. I’m guessing that the resident bream would have had a good go though. Onward I walked to the third area I had baited. Within minutes a fish rolled. I didn’t see the fish, just the concentric circles it created. Then, again, another fish rolled. It looked suspiciously bream-like. There was bubbling in the swim too but again, less carp more bream. I didn’t know what to do. Having not done much of this type of fishing it really is going to be a steep learning curve. I decided to head back to one of the other swims and fish that. After all this one seemed full of bream. Maybe the other ones held a carp or two?

I fished two rods. The first one on the edge of the baited area, which had been topped up a little with more particle mix. This rod had double fake corn, one sinking and one floating. The other rod I fished away from the baited area, and even though I was aware this could be bream suicide, I fished small 10mm boilies withIMG_2819 a large PVA bag of chopped boilies and pellets. I cast this rig perilously close to a section of river with overhanging and dead trees. A very nice environment for Mr Carp. I sat back and waited. Two kingfishers regularly flew back and forth, up and down the river. Amazing flashes of blue on an otherwise green backdrop. I’ve often seen one, but two flying so close together was a new one for me. Grey herons hunted small fish in the margins. A shrew tried in vain to pluck up the courage to get near the particles I had spilt when baiting. I got stung in the hand by a wasp. I could have done without that though. Nature getting a little too close. However, the indicators remained motionless. The alarms quiet. Three hours later, I reeled in, and checked the rigs which were fine. I needed to stretch my legs. Taking the boilie and PVA bag rod, and net, I wandered down to the swim where I saw the bream rolling. In went the rig. Rod on the ground I waited for the baitrunner to scream off. Or should that be plod off. Five minutes later the plodding happened and a bream was on the bank. A 4lb fish with peculiar black markings on it.

IMG_2831Another cast and another bream. Yes, there was a good shoal of bream here. Despondent, I headed back to the swim I had been in and fished it out until dark. Before the light went I fed the three swims again and planned to return in two days time. I didn’t see any signs of carp all day, both in the swim I was fishing and on the occasions I went trying to spot them.

IMG_2833Two days later I was back at dawn. The weather turning a little cooler, with a strong northerly wind picking up the night before. It wouldn’t effect the water temperature though. Again I looked at the areas, the furthest swim seemed to be full of bream, the other two as quiet as before. So this time I fished the ‘bream’ swim. Both rods went to either side of the feed area. One with corn and one with 10mm boilie. I hoped there would be some carp on the periphery of the feeding bream shoal. Surely any carp would push them out though? Apart from the odd line bite, which presumably came from wandering bream, I had no fish at all on this session. I left a little despondent but I never expected this to be easy. I’d like to explore this area more so next time I will try a more mobile approach. Unfortunately the carp did used to show themselves often in this section and I just hope the fact I’m not seeing any isn’t backing up the stories I’ve read online. No excuses though and only time will tell. I’m sure its just down to location and a poor river carp angler!

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

Enjoying the last days of summer (Entry 58)

With the warm weather still with us I have not yet turned my attention to perch fishing. The tench and carp are still milling around the margins of lakes and ponds, taking advantage of the abundance of insect life at present, both above and below the surface. No doubt these fish are getting a little harder to catch after a summer of angling pressure, but they are still great fun to target for a few hours. Especially when you use methods that make catching them that little bit more tricky. Sometimes its the way you catch the fish that gives the greatest pleasure. All of a sudden an average sized carp becomes that bit more special. It’s this variety that makes angling very appealing to me.

IMG_2801I arrived at a venue I had not been to before. A stunning little club water if I’m honest. I intended to fish for its carp using the lift method. I make no bones about it, I’ve been having great fun using this method in the last few months. It’s very quick to set up, offers great sensitivity, and allows you to explore the swim you are fishing more readily than other methods. When the floats lifts and bobs as the fish touch the line, which incidentally doesn’t spook them like tight lines, you heart rate doubles. When it eventually sinks from sight or lifts flat on the surface, it’s difficult to control the strike, such is the adrenaline pumping round your body! Having settled into a swim offering sufficient bankside cover in the form of reeds and a lily bed, I fed a likely looking ‘bay’ area with some small pellets and a few grains of sweetcorn. I had meat with me also and some paste. Unfortunately, I had forgotten the bread, which sat in my kitchen. A forgotten item.

IMG_2807I made up the rig which allowing the swim to settle in the process. A small three inch piece of peacock quill was attached to the 7lb mainline at a depth of six foot. Two AA shot were placed four inches from a strong size 12 spade end hook. Within a couple of minutes the rig was ready to fish. But I didn’t begin fishing. There was no signs of fish in the swim. No tell tale bubbles rising or debris being disturbed. I’d much rather the fish come in a feed on the free offerings and gain confidence so I had a little wander. In the middle of the pool carp cruised lazily in the upper layers. The afternoon sun proving to much to resist. Occasionally they slurped down a morsel of food and with a flick of their tales glided onward. I now cursed forgetting the bread. But it was ok, and I was quite happy to watch them going about their business.

IMG_2803A whole hour passed me by whilst I took in the atmosphere. I don’t know what it was about the the place but I really enjoyed being there. It was my first visit to the venue and it wont be my last! I sat back down in the swim and noticed a few bubbles appearing sporadically. In all honesty they looked like skimmer bream and on my first cast the constant bobbing and lifting of the float confirmed this. Plenty of small fish were present that were not capable of taking the double corn hookbait. I cut back on the pellets in an attempt to dissuade the suspected skimmers from the swim and after another hour the bubbles relented. Was this because the pellets had gone or had a bigger fish moved in and forced them out? I didn’t know. A change of hookbait to a little ball of paste resulted in an instant take and an answer to my question. The float burying from view at a rate of knots, the fish heading angrily for the sanctuary of the far bank. At least it hadn’t bolted for the lily bed. For their size the fish fight tremendously hard in this water. They are certainly fit and healthy fish. It just didn’t give up. After swimming in circles under the rod tip, I managed to net a modest mirror carp of around 8-9lb. A perfect size carp for some lift method fun. I unhooked the fish in the water and took a quick photo. It was immaculate and I didn’t want to take it onto the unhooking mat on what was turning out to be quite a warm afternoon. The fish swam off strongly and I primed the swim again for another fish.

IMG_2811A few small tench of about a pound made an appearance before the swim went very quiet. The float didn’t move. Even the cruising fish, so prolific earlier, were becoming fewer and fewer. It stayed this way until the sun sank behind the trees and the light levels dropped. That’s when the fizzing started as the carp began to forage on the lakebed. The only problem was none of this activity was in my swim. They seemed to be hanging further out, down in the slightly deeper water. Naturally I deepened the rig and presented my hookbait here but no bites were forthcoming. I had a chat to a venue regular and fellow club member around this time who put me straight about the stocking of the water and told me about his exploits on the mighty River Severn the day before. During this time the activity remained constant, the fish elusive. A brief tussle with a foul hooked fish just before leaving was the only action of the evening. Thankfully the hook pulled a few seconds later and that was my cue to leave. I can’t wait to be back though!

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