The curious incident of the worms in the night (Entry 79)

Have you ever had one of those weeks where despite your best efforts and planning, things just don’t seem to happen? Well it was one of those, and the problems started in my garden shed.

Had I not been half asleep I would have taken a photo of the farce that followed but upon opening the shed to ready the bait I needed to set out for some more stillwater bream, namely red maggots and some freshly bought worms, I found the tub that had been full the night before now lay mysteriously empty. Thankfully it wasn’t the maggots that had escaped but the worms, through a little crack in the lid that had otherwise gone unnoticed. One hundred large dendrobaenas had made their escape. Just the odd one now left on the wooden floor. After I cursed their luck (I hope the blackbirds get you) I emptied the entire shed and retrieved about a dozen worms. Hardly worth it really. I tried to think positively; it would be a maggots and groundbait approach then. Who needs worms anyway?

Just what is out there?

I got to the venue a little later than planned due to a rather substantial tailback caused by a ‘large load’ lorry travelling at a snails pace on the motorway. It gave me a chance to plan the session at least. Waggler at a comfortable distance fished over a small bed of groundbait and a few maggots catapulted every fifteen minutes or so. Pretty simple fishing but one that takes some beating, especially when the fish are lethargic. My, how plans in angling can change upon the first sight of the venue. Since my last visit the water clarity had increased significantly and I knew it would have pushed the fish further out past waggler range. I also knew if would make the fish a lot harder to catch. And now I cursed the escapee worms again. Some chop worm mixed with some peat and soil, fed via a small feeder with a worm section as bait. That would have been a good clear water choice. Still, it was pointless thinking that way and I adopted a similar tactic except with groundbait and maggot. But it just didn’t feel right. While a full days fishing on the feeder was good practice it was a biteless session and packing away just after dusk I reflected on what could have been. It’s one of anglings luxuries; the ability to replay the session, substituting different baits and ideas to ‘see’ if it would have made a difference. Building hope for next time. Stoking the fire. Fanning the flames. Speaking of flames, turn that car heater up to maximum. It had got pretty cold in the dark, damp early evening.

The swim for my second session

Luckily I managed to find some time for a second session during the week. I put worm gate behind me and looked forward to some good roach fishing. The venue in question a small club water that during the summer I caught a few lovely sized roach when fishing pellet. I hoped that with a mild spell these roach would have an appetite for some crisp casters. There was some colour in the venue and not knowing much about the place I hoped this wouldn’t put the fish off. The plan was to feed little and often and fish shallow. The venue itself isn’t deep and I assumed that a constant trickle of bait would see any fish competing for the casters. Well, the plan worked and I began to catch roach after roach. The only problem being the size of the fish. At around an ounce each, they weren’t the size of fish I was after. I persisted and hoped that they would eventually either get fed off or be pushed out by some bigger fish but two hours later the small roach were still there in numbers. I plumbed and fished on the deck. Small roach there too. I fed a different line closer in, just over a shallow marginal shelf. This line was fed with hemp and casters. No pellets to avoid the resident bream. It took a while to get the first bite and when it came, you guessed it, it was a one ounce bream! So much for plans. Even the chicken couldn’t believe what she was seeing and probably thought it would be better to give her the casters.

Chicken!

On the whole I couldn’t have done any more than I did on both sessions to change the outcome. Maybe my location was off or maybe it wasn’t. Maybe the fish simply had no interest in feeding. Who can tell and in truth I don’t think anyone really knows. It’s all guess work. The variables are so great in angling. I’ve said it before, but I’m surprised we catch as often as we do. Still, one thing I am sure of; I’m already looing forward to going through it all again. Well, maybe not the escapee worms in the shed bit.

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

A few hours passed (Entry 78)

When I looked out of the window and saw the squally wind and heavy rain it would have been easier to substitute boots for slippers. But I set myself the target of going fishing at least once each week, even if just for an hour or two. With a few red maggots left over from last week, both dead and live, I made straight for a small club water I hoped Initial baitwould be a little more sheltered from the now gusty wind. Strong gusts too. On arrival I made for the most sheltered part of the water. More for myself but I also thought, if I was a fish would I sit in the water being chilled by the wind? Probably not. Ok then, it really was for my own comfort, and usually catching a fish or two and ones own comfort don’t go hand in hand. After setting up I started the session on a small pellet looking to pick up any fish already present in the area. I was fishing a comfortable distance from the bank. Any further and my float rig was blown mercilessly by the now persistently strong wind. It was necessary to keep adding a few inches to the rig to find that balance that kept the rig from moving through but also one where the float didn’t pull under. This is something that I learned how to do fishing the canals when I was younger. Some days though a moving bait will outscore a still one. Something for me to keep in mind. After roughly 30 minutes I had my first bite of the day. The fish was lively and more powerful than I expected. It turned out to be a rather pleasing and plump tench in the mood for a winter snack.

A lovely green surprise

Once the tench was returned I proceeded as I had been doing but bites did not materialise. It was time to switch to red maggot. I had been feeding one or two every five minutes since I had arrived. I had no interest on double maggot and none on single. Strange. The next time the rig was reeled in I took off some depth so the undertow would give the bait some movement. On the very first cast the float faltered and sank from sight and fish number two was hooked. A lovely crucian/goldfish hybrid of around two pound.

This is more like it

I now had a run of these lovely plump fish, six in total, the biggest just over two pound with the smallest being around a pound. All taken on single red maggot. Get the bait acting naturally, and in the undertow I was assuming the other free offering were moving a little too, and the fish should follow. All in all, It was a good short session that produced a few bites in rather horrible conditions. At least I had got out for a few hours and caught some lovely fish. Pleasingly they were all in excellent condition too.

The biggest fish of the sessionThanks 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

Too much rain means its bream, again (Entry 77)

With the success I have been having on a certain venue recently, this week would see me return once more. The river levels are still frustratingly erratic so a day pitting my wits against its resident big bream seemed like the best option. I set myself the target of a six pounder. Just something to keep me focused for the day. So, where do these bigger bream patrol or reside? This was the question I needed to find the answer too. I had a sneaky feeling that these bigger bream may be holding slightly further away from the bank or off the main feed area having not picked any lumps up so far. This would be my basis for the days fishing then. Just trying to put the pieces together one at a time.

In the still conditions the pole was idealIn the fairly calm conditions I opted to fish the pole. Light floats and lines would be employed, as would small hooks. A size 18 would be perfect for the double or single maggot hookbait that would be used. I mixed up some dark groundbait and added a palmful of dead red maggots as feed. Enough bait to make three tangerine sized balls for starters. They weren’t fed as solid balls though, instead loosely potted in so that they would spread over a larger area of water. The food content more concentrated than the fine groundbait particles and perfect for bream to graze over. The rig though was plumbed up half a meter past this. It was a few inches deeper and here I hoped I would pick up any larger fish, more cautious than the smaller bream in the shoal.

A classic winter warmerWhile the swim settled I had some soup. Heinz ‘Cream of Tomato’. I wonder how many tins have been heated up on the bank or poured into flasks over the years? I for one have probably consumed my own bodyweight in it several times over. I love the stuff and its important to keep warm when out in the winter. Today was a fairly mild day though, the suns warm rays warming my face as I watched the water and consumed my food. By now the swim had stopped fizzing. The gasses and oils from the groundbait had dissipated. I wondered how long it would take for a bite this week? Early or late. In went the rig. Twenty minutes later, the single maggot hookbait was taken and the first bream of the day was on its way to the net. Albeit a much smaller fish than I had intended at around a pound. Still there was bream present at least.

Small but welcomeBanking on a few better fish being present, instead of going straight back out I fed one more pot of loose groundbait and a few maggots. Risky I know, as bream are not fond of bait raining down on them. I followed this with another fifteen minutes of sitting and waiting. Watching the water and hoping I had not killed of the swim. Eventually I resigned to finding out. Bait this time would be double dead red maggot. I held the rig still. There wasn’t much undertow today. After five minutes the float dipped and rose slightly. It then held motionless. A few moments later came the slowest bite I have ever witnessed. I patiently waited for the tip to slip under the surface film and I struck into a very heavy weight indeed. A big lunge followed and slowly the fish moved away from me. I took things very carefully. It felt like a bream for sure. It also felt very heavy. If nothing else I wanted to at least see the fish. On a 1lb 12oz bottom I wasn’t in the position to bully the mystery attached but I was confident with steady pressure the fish would finally succumb. After nearly five minutes a very broad and deep bodied bream rose from the depths and, just about, slid into the poised landing net.

A new PB for meAt 7lb 14oz the fish set a new PB for me beating my old best by just over a pound, and agonisingly close to being an eight, incidentally a target of mine for this year. With a photo taken, I returned the fish in the next peg. It was a marvellous sight to see it amble slowly back out in the fairly clear water. It had made my day and had gone some way in convincing me that my tactics had worked. I repeated the process again. Half a cup of groundbait and a few maggots. This time a full hour went by before I hooked into either a small carp or another big tench. Not really geared up for them however, I battled for ten minutes with the fish before the hook eventually pulled. I didn’t see the fish once in all that time. At dusk I had one last bream at just under five pound. A lovely end to a cracking session. It really is a great feeling when a plan is formulated and seems to play out. There is certainly some cracking fish in this venue and I hope to return soon to see if there are any large perch present.

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

Bream, tench and lightning bolts (Entry 76)

It was very late friday evening when the plan was made. Bream would be the target for the session the next day and would take place on the venue I tried for them on a few weeks ago. That day, they eluded me but I was rewarded with a lovely tench. You can see the entry here. I must admit though the reason for this late planning was an error on my part. With a little mild weather predicted I had planned to go perch fishing on the canal. A coloured canal with a decent head of good sized perch. I got some lobworms in and some prawns too. Readied any tackle midweek and everything was set. Or was it? I completely forgot the red maggots. Perch fishing without red maggots for me is a definite no no. Change of plan then.

A very reliable bait

There’s one bait that I think most anglers will always have a supply of. The pellet. I too am no different and on heading to the venue I came to terms with just how much they have changed the face of angling. When people talk about the ‘pellet revolution’, they don’t say these words lightly. What we have here is a versatile, convenient and very productive bait. Used all year round this bait has become almost natural to most fish and on most fisheries. Although not suited to every species, a few soft pellets would certainly stand me in good stead after stillwater bream. Learning from recent Prawns!mistakes (!) I decided on a ‘Plan B’ too. The worms and prawns were brought with me. I remember a long while ago fishing on the same water with my old man. It was a scorching summer day and my dad was showing me how to fish a waggler shallow for rudd and roach. Well, in truth I did all the casting and catching while he did the real hard work of feeding correctly. We caught a lot of fish, over a hundred, and I needed a break. When my dad took over he immediately caught a few better stamp fish. Curse his ‘luck’ I used to think, and before long he had hooked something much bigger. At first he said it was a small carp but it turned out to be a huge perch. Well over three pound. This water is obviously capable of producing big perch but it was a long time ago though would there still be any? Any effort in trying  to find out such things is never effort wasted in my opinion.

When the wind wasn't blowing

Once in the swim I fed a small amount of pellets at the desired length. I float fished for them again today. I love trying to catch any fish on float tackle but bream bites are particularly exciting to watch develop. And for the perch I fished down the margins; to my left a huge bed of reeds and to my right some overhanging trees and reeds. I fed some chopped worms and prawns and would fish these areas every hour or so. There was a chance of anything on these lines not just perch. Carp being especially fond of worm and prawns. I took a few pictures leaving both lines to settled. I enjoyed a cup of coffee and watched a tiny wren looking for insects in the brambles behind me. A few swans flew over head, causing the wren to make its retreat, and with the coffee gone it was time to fish. I started on the ‘bream’ line with a small pellet for bait and didn’t have to wait long for a bite. A slow lift and gradual disappearance of the float could only mean one thing. Bream time!

The first fish of the day

The fish weighed 3lb 9oz and came in, like most stillwater bream do, without much circumstance. Unusually the bite came after just twenty minutes. In my experience it is unusual to catch so quickly or should that be, so early in the day, on here in winter. I just hoped that this wouldn’t be a bad omen. I fed a few more pellets and gave the swim a while to settle. This gave me and opportunity to have a quick look down both the margin swims but to be honest I felt that these swim would come into play towards dusk. But would I even make it to dusk? The clouds in the distance looked dark and menacing. The wind was getting even stronger too. Ten minutes passed, and I switched back to the bream line. The undertow had picked up significantly now. This required a few more inches of depth to be added to the rig and went some way to stop the float being moved to slowly through the swim. Just as the rig was moving towards the perimeter of the baited area it vanished quickly and another fish was on. The bite was much more positive and from the surging run I knew I had hooked another winter tench. Fishing a 2lb hooklength and a size twenty hook, I couldn’t afford to bully the fish. Even in relatively cold conditions tench are powerful fighters. It took five minutes for the fish to succumb to the gentle pressure I was exerting. Now in the margins, I slowly teased the fish up in the water and with a gulp of air, managed to slide the fish into the net. A few drops of rain began to fall as I did so.

Another good sized winter tench

The scales read 5lb 14oz and the tench had made me a very happy angler indeed. With a quick photo taken on the soft grass and dead rushes in the flooded margins, I returned the fish. This is the point I nearly jumped into said margins as a huge bolt of lightning came down behind the tree in the distance. A loud crack of thunder soon followed and the rain became heavier. Another similar flash of lighting and my mind was made. Without an umbrella I thought it best to make a hasty retreat though I desperately wanted to stay. Sure enough as I packed away the last of my tackle, the hailstone rained down and the wind, inevitably, blew it right into my face. It was shocking weather. Truly freakish but quite amazing to watch from the warmth and protection of the car. I let it blow itself out before driving home.

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