Never cast a clout (Entry 84)

That old saying really does ring true in this weeks update. The few days of warm sun we had a week or so ago are now feeling like a distant memory. Especially when sat in the teeth of the northerly wind. Hail showers did little to improve the already falling water temperatures, but still, there is always the chance of a fish. Anglers are certainly an optimistic bunch.

Even on a cloudy day it looks greatSaturday saw me heading to a picturesque club water with the intention of meeting up with a friend. Of course, some fishing would be done and I was already set up and sheltered from the rain when Cliff arrived. We talked the hind legs of the proverbial donkey, both of us keeping an eye on the float fished sweetcorn I had presented two or three rod lengths out. After an hour or so, Cliff thought it best to head to a swim of his own to see if he could extract a fish or two. I wished him good luck and with that I was left with my thoughts. I didn’t feel very confident to be honest. The area I had chosen to fish was not very deep, and although this could have worked in my favour, it meant I had a good idea there were no fish present. At least for now. No water movement, tail patterns or patches of bubbles. Plenty of small fish evading the jaws of hungry jack pike though, leaping clear of the water as they did so.

The swim for todayThe day went by with a procession of cold showers and cups of tea. Nothing much to get the heart beating faster. And I would have fished until darkness stopped me but for an unfortunate gust of wind catching my umbrella at just the right (or wrong) angle. Now resembling a huge, green flower and with two very bent and broken support ribs, I packed away as another heavy hail shower fell around 6pm. It wasn’t the most successful of sessions. For me anyway. Cliff manage to winkle out a chunky three pound tench a few minutes after I had left. At least one of us had managed to catch on a pretty horrible day weather-wise.

Male and female swansI was back out the next day, in the afternoon this time, and on a different venue. Carp were my target. I couldn’t decide which of the lakes to try and initially, headed for one of the smaller ones. The two swans above didn’t seem to mind my intrusion, as shortly after casting out, they did what female and male swans do best. The dance(?) they do afterwards is actually pretty amazing, and without sounding like a swan pervert, I was glad I witnessed it. Half an hour into the fishing, the gremlins arrived. I just didn’t feel like I was on the right water. The cold wind was howling in. It was time to tackle down and find a more sheltered spot. Another twenty minutes went by and I was settling into my second swim of the day. A cup of coffee was consumed whilst I pondered where the carp may be lying. With the rods and a light scattering of freebies put out, it was a case of waiting, and watching.

Fishing for a takeI was fishing for a take. On one rod I had a bright pop-up and small PVA bag combo, whilst on the other, I went with a 10mm white bottom bait. Just I was thinking about pouring another coffee, the pop-up rod roared off as a carp bolted for safety. After the initial take, the fight was relatively tame by carp standards. Once the fish was on the mat I realised why. It was like a block of ice! Admittedly a very pretty block of ice. No need to weigh the fish, just a quick photo in the early evening light, then carefully released in the margins.

What a stunner!I re-cast the rod to the same area and once more sat back and waited. I had time to pour a coffee this time, several in fact, whilst I waited for the sun to sink below the horizon and the darkness to consume the landscape. It had definitely been an enjoyable few hours. Full of lovely sights and sounds. I packed away slowly once the sky had turned deep blue. On the way back to the car, an owl swooped silently past me. The perfect end to the session.

Fishing has some stunning backdropsThanks 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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Keeping it simple, twice (Entry 83)

This week saw the start of the closed season. The rivers are now off limits which I suppose makes deciding where to go a little easier. I still have a whole host of venues to consider though and, a sometimes overwhelming, variety of species to target. From month to month, season to season, the species change, and with each passing week so do the methods. This time of year is a great time to be an angler. Enjoying the first signs of life emerging from the winter sleep. The snow drops, crocuses and daffodils; the queen bee finding a suitable place to start her colony. Yes, its an optimistic time for sure. The fish too are waking up and are quick to move into shallower water. The margins warmed by any sun at this time of year, and hungry carp will begin to seek out food there. Well, that sounds like an opportunity for a quick afternoon session, doesn’t it?

I arrived the waters edge well after three o’clock and planned to fish until the sun sank behind me in a haze of red and orange. Before then though, I hoped to get a few carp feeding in the margins. Just a small palmful of pellets were fed in three likely looking spots. I would stay well back from the edge and visit the swims in rotation, looking for signs of feeding carp; bubbles on the surface or water moved by waving tails. The fish were certainly active, with several fish jumping clear of the water on the far bank but for the time being they seemed to ignoring the near margins. Still, I hoped they would eventually succumb. Whilst I waited I prepared my rig, which consisted of a size twelve hook tied directly to my 8lb mainline. The rod was a 1.75lb avon. Perfect. You really couldn’t get much simpler. Two grains of sweetcorn would be threaded onto the hook. I watched and waited. As four o’clock came and went, the carp began to move over the pellet offerings, one swim in particular looked to have a good number of fish present. I crept into position and carefully lowered in the hookbait just short of them. A whole 30 seconds went by before the line tightened and the rod began to head towards the far bank. I lifted into an angry weight as the fish surged away towards deeper water. With gentle and steady pressure I slowly got the fish under control. There was no need to rush. Savouring every moment and before too long, the solidly built carp was cradled in the mesh of my landing net. A low double at a guess but it didn’t matter one bit. A truly exciting way to catch a carp. For me, the simpler it is, the purer the experience.

Early spring carp safely nettedI unhooked the fish in the margins and took a quick picture, giving the fish a few seconds to get its breathe back after such a spirited fight, before lowering the net and letting it swim away. I tried the two other swims but had no other success. It was great fun nonetheless and I got to see this beautiful sight as I packed away.

Not a bad way to end the sessionThe next day it was all change as I set off for an intimate little pool to see if any of its residents were waking up. Possible species were crucians, goldfish, roach and rudd. Maybe even the odd bream, chub or perch. Not one of these fish was expected to be above eight ounces but I couldn’t wait to get started. Again nothing complicated here. A light float and line, small hooks and red maggots for bait. The first fish on the bank was a little palm sized brown goldfish. With rich, golden brown colours, it was a lovely start to the day. I wonder how many bloodworm have quivered at the sight of this?

Perfectly formedIt was a case of feed sparingly and cast often. Bites seemed to come quickly after doing so. The longer the bait was left the less chance of bite. I am assuming the maggots were dropping through any gaps in the weed and detritus on the bottom. Hidden from view so to speak. Still, it was an enjoyable way of fishing, keeping me active, searching the swim throughout the day.

Returning another mint conditioned brown goldfishI ended up with 10 brown goldfish, a solitary, tiny crucian and over two dozen rudd. It had been a relaxing and enjoyable day. Bringing back many happy memories of years gone by and times spent on the venue. I hope to make this little water a focus of mine this year. I can’t wait to visit it again once the weather warms up and the plants and weed have grown on. Somehow, the less water you can see, the greater the magic.

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

Plans for the next year and beyond (Entry 82)

If you are following my Facebook page you will have spotted last week that I, along with a few other angling bloggers, attended a meeting with Matt Hayes and Richard Lee. This was to discuss an exciting venture I am pleased to be a part of. One that proves to be very informative. On Saturday, Team Fishing Hut was formed. It’s aim is ultimately to promote angling to as wide an audience as possible. Maybe to inspire newcomers to the sport or to re-ignite the flame for ex-fisher people. I have since begun working on some ideas.

When I started ‘Northwest Fisherman’ just over a year ago, it was merely something to get my creativity going again. Since I left university it had dropped away drastically. I had studied fine art and after graduation, became quite disillusioned with certain things. One day at work, I thought about how much I love angling and all that goes with it. The sights, the sounds, even the smells. Cooked hemp anyone? Why was I not sharing this with people? A week of messing around on WordPress and Northwest Fisherman was born. And I’m glad to say that my passion, both for fishing and this little corner of the internet, continues to grow.

So what about these new ideas? Well, I suppose the one I am most excited about is the step into making videos. They will not be versions of what I already do every week in my blog. Instead, I hope to create short films based around a theme. This could take any shape and right now the fun is coming from getting varied ideas down, seeing which ones are workable and which are not. Hopefully, they will all explore the indeterminable things that get to the core of any angler. As I’ve just said, I am only just in the planning and writing stage but one or two of them are taking shape nicely. I expect it to be hard work but I am not put off by this. In fact, I find it helps spur me on. Inevitably there may be some weeks where filming takes over fishing and I may take these as opportunities to update you on what stage the videos are at, rather than report on a lost fishing session.

I’d like to say once more; Thank you all for your support. I can’t wait to get my new ideas up and running. I hope you will keep stopping by every once in a while to share in our appreciation of all things ‘fishy’. Also in the ‘Links’ section I have added the other sites that are a part of Team Fishing Hut. Why not check them out?

So, did anyone pick up on the ‘Spinal Tap’ reference?

Tight Lines

NorthwestFisherman

See you in June (Entry 81)

A short update this week owing much to the fact that I had an unproductive session this week. I half thought it would be but I also felt that it would be my last chance to get on the river before the closed season begins. Conditions were far from ideal. The river was coloured with a lot of suspended sediment in the water. Not a good kind of coloured Double white maggot for a hungry chubespecially not for this section of river. I armed myself with a pint of white maggots and my trotting rod, teamed up with a centrepin. I picked a lovely, long section of river that would be my home for the day. For the first half hour, I fed the swim with a few maggots every few minutes, and went about rigging up. I enjoyed the solitary surroundings in which the river resides. Apart from the odd dog walker, I didn’t see a soul all day. The high bank behind me sheltered me from the forceful wind. I couldn’t think of a place I would rather have been. I will certainly miss the river for the next few months but as they say; absence makes the heart grow fonder.

What a swim for trotting

To be fair I gave it a good go for four hours and fished until I had trouble seeing the float tip. Yard by yard my trot was shortened with the fading light. In all that time I had not one bite. It didn’t matter though. I had spent the day in the company of a living, flowing stretch of water home to big, wary chub. This winter, this particular stretch of river has not been kind to me. Only producing a few chub, all to good sizes though. Not the 5lb one I was after but lovely chub all the same. The summer was the same; it’s Barbel proved elusive and apart from a few smaller chub, I would have left those sessions fish-less. Still, even with her apparent cruelness, I know that come opening day I shall be back. Fighting my way through the overgrown banks of the early summer, in a bid to find the waterside, where I may once again fall under the spell of the hypnotic currents.

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

Building some confidence (Entry 80)

This week during the dark evenings, I had been planning out the next few months of fishing next to the fire. Well, radiator; I don’t have a fire. What, where, when and which tactics. I like to keep focussed and have things to aim for but there was another reason. It also allows me to start to slowly get any tackle items I need together. Re-spool reels and such like, order the all important bait, ready to go when the conditions dictate. Anyway, I wanted to try out a new liquid additive I am going to be using over the coming months. I will be using it on some natural venues when the tench wake up and also, if conditions allow, for some large water bream fishing. Given the vastness of one of these waters I need total faith in both my end tackle and bait. So what better way to get that than a short session after bream on a small but, at this time of year, tricky little pit. Bream again and using very similar tactics to the ones I will be using come spring. It sounded like a good plan to me.

The setting for todays session

With more wild and windy conditions forecast and the water in question surrounded by old trees, I almost headed elsewhere. Torn between what was sensible and what my heart told me. Of course, being sensible lost out and fifty minutes later I arrived at the venue. I lapped the water on arrival and it looked pretty much as had imagined to. Lifeless, apart the gusty wind whipping down it at regular intervals. I chose a swim offering me a fair amount of open water to go at. This was also the deeper part of the pit too and seemed perfect for my intended species. I fished as far from any bank as possible, both my own and the far bank and after a quick lead around, fed a few handfuls of caster via a little homemade spod. The water was very clear and so would provide a very good test, both for the new bait additive and also the rig. To my left was a lovely looking spot for carp; overhanging trees, dead rushes and the like. There are a few, and I do mean a few, lovely looking carp in here as well as one or two now sizeable grass carp. Although I planned on fishing two rods over the area baited with caster, I decided to split my two rods, one for the bream as and the other for a carp. Having never caught a carp from this venue I wasn’t holding out much hope though.

I set up a simple in line bolt rig for the bream with double fake casters mounted directly to the hook; it’s weight sank them very slowly. A small PVA bag of caster was attached to the hook and the whole lot glugged in the liquid attractor. In the meantime I went about setting up the carp rod. Fifteen minutes later the carp rod cast into place and twenty 10mm boilies were fed over a smallish area. I didn’t want to fill the place in as I wasn’t even sure I was in the right area for carp and I was happy that there was enough attraction from the boilies to get the attention of any passing or nearby carp. Back to the bream rod. I cast the now heavily glugged offering to the nearside of the baited area and set the rod. Plenty of time now to watch the water and indeed the abundant wildlife. All manner of small, colourful birds darted in and out of the shrubs and bushes. I could hear a woodpecker rhythmically pecking at a tree somewhere in the distance. Far above the canopy of the trees some kind of hawk circled, no make that two, gliding effortlessly even in such erratic and strong winds. What a beautiful place to be and for a while I was lost in it. A procession of slow beeps focussed my attention back on the rod as, what was undoubtedly a bream, picked up the bait. I lifted the rod into the fish and sure enough the typical plod-plod at the other end confirmed a bream was on. I had been fishing less than an hour. I couldn’t have asked for a better start.

The first of the bream

A lovely fish lay on the mat a few minutes later. Weighing just over five pound it was a real confidence booster. I took a quick picture and returned the fish a few pegs away so as not to disturb any other fish possibly feeding where it had been a few moments before. The rig was cleaned of slime, an occupational hazard of bream fishing, and a fresh PVA bag of casters attached. The whole lot was glugged for five minutes. I took the opportunity to consume a tasty cheese sandwich. With the rig cast back out I settled back into my chair a very content angler. Another hour went by before a similar bite resulted in another bream, a little smaller than the first, once again fooled by the fake caster rig. It was hooked well too, just in the bottom lip as the first fish had also been.

Perfectly hooked in the bottom lipThis was the last fish of the session however, but I was more than happy with how well the rig and bait had worked. The carp rod stayed on the spot until I left well after dark but I had no indications on it whatsoever. I expected this to be the case. I watched the water a lot during the session and hoped that I would see some tell tale signs of carp but it wasn’t to be. Even a walk around with the polaroids when the sun fleetingly came out didn’t give me a clue as to their whereabouts. Still another enjoyable session in beautiful surroundings and two fish to boot.

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