Angler’s Paradise, Part 2 (Entry 87)

I’d caught a fair few fish over the first part of the week. Lot’s of the beautiful, colourful residents of Zyg’s fantastic fishery. A mixture of shallow waggler and light lift method fishing. My favourite ways to floatfish. If anything, I had over indulged somewhat, but this was all to change. It was time to fish the specimen orfe and tench lake in an attempt to catch a bigger specimen or two.

First, a visit to the on-site shop for some advice and inside knowledge. It seemed that there had been a lot of smaller fish being caught on the tried and tested maggot feeder or waggler approach, and although I’m sure it could have sorted out a fish or two, I felt it would have been a war of attrition. Weather-wise it was still very windy, a cold wind too, but thankfully the sun was shining providing a well needed boost in temperature. I opted to fish two light ledger rods both with method feeders. Scalded pellets to mould around them, and with me for hookbait, I brought a selection of small boilies, 8mm pellets, some meat and should I get desperate, a tin of sweetcorn. Hopefully these bigger, and in some cases, harder baits would withstand the attentions of the smaller fish. However, as the same small fish fed on the pellets, I hoped they would attract the attention of their bigger brothers and sisters. That was the theory. I started at sunrise in temperatures close to freezing. I made for the deeper end of the pool, where my left hand rod would be cast into the heart of one of bays of the island, and my right hand rod positioned in the deeper water half a rod length of a large weed bed. After a few casts, I began to get regular indications on the left hand rod whilst the other lay quite lifeless. It’s a funny game fishing, After roughly two hours of line bites from the left hand rod it was to be the right hand one that first sprung into life. I lifted into a fish that plodded somewhat on the other end. Very bream like, though it couldn’t be on of those. I assumed this must be a reasonable orfe. The fish kept deep. Slowly it came towards me, and I hoped that soon a vivid orange back would fade into view. A few moment later and there it was. The fairly broad back of a beautiful golden orfe. I took my chance and swept it into the net.

First fish and a PB!

What a stunning fish it was! I was more than made up, and although I would have much rather have caught it on float tackle, I was certainly not complaining. Maybe I’d get a chance to try that later as the water warmed in the sun. I took a few pictures before releasing the fish. Time for a celebratory cup of tea and a Jaffa Cake. Celebrating something orange with something orange. Seemed quite fitting. The other rod was still getting a lot of interest from smaller fish. After my mini celebration, both rods were re-baited and re-cast. I then settled back and waited contently. Not too long later, maybe twenty minutes or so, the rod that had been a hive of activity finally roared into life. A much more powerful and familiar fighting fish this time. This had to be a tench. The aggressive nature of the fight suggested a male tench too. Several powerful figure of eight manoeuvres were performed under the rod tip but soon a fighting fit, and brilliantly coloured, male tinca was laying on the unhooking mat.

How about this for amazing colours?

With the sun now nearing it highest so the fishing became difficult. For a time I searched the pool with one rod, casting regularly in an attempt to steal a bite. During this time I began to prime a margin swim with a few pellets to try later in the afternoon as the sun began to drop. For now though, it was a case of watching the wildlife and relaxing. In front of me were some quite large beetles, oil beetles I was informed at a later date by a friend (thanks Stewart). I watched them flock towards the biggest which I assumed was a female. Let’s just say I was right. They were an amazing addition to the session, something I’d never seen before. A multitude of different birds came to visit my swim, eating leftover or dropped bait. It was staggering how close they came with time.Yes, I was really enjoying this. And so the next few hours passed without any circumstance on the fishing front. Time to try the margin swim. After just minutes of being in position the rod was nodding aggressively and another tench hooked. A little smaller than the first but an amazing two toned variety. All these fish were in immaculate condition.

I have no idea how tench get like this but I'll happily catch themWith the fish returned, I walked around the pool, attempting to spot some bigger orfe in the upper layers. I saw one or two, but could not get them feeding. The cool conditions and the fluctuating overnight temperatures making them a little ‘difficult’. Regardless, I had enjoyed the session wholeheartedly. I fished until sunset but no more fish came my way. I probably could have fished a little harder, moved and tried to find the fish, but there was no need. It was a holiday after all. The fish I caught were more than ample reward and they will certainly stick in my memory for a good while yet.

This has gone on for a little longer than I thought it would so I shall save the short session after the koi carp for another time. Thanks for reading the update. ‘Like’ if you have enjoyed, and share with friends if you think they will enjoy it. Check out my Facebook page where you can keep up to date with everything that is going on.

Until next time,

NorthwestFisherman

Angler’s Paradise, Part 1 (Entry 86)

The five and a half hour drive flew by. Mostly because my mind was constantly pondering over what to expect in the coming week. It was my first visit to Angler’s Paradise. Indeed, it was to be the first fishing holiday I had been on, and I was absolutely loving the idea of staying at one of the most famous fisheries in the UK. It’s waters full of colourful species, some of which I had never caught before. Koi carp, golden tench and orfe as well as golden rudd and the hard fighting catfish. The only downside to the trip was the weather. The forecast for the first few days was quite cool with a lot of heavy rain and a strong westerly wind. But enough of that, these roads were getting narrower and steeper; my old car sounds like its on it’s last legs at the best of times.

Thankfully I arrived safely twenty minutes or so later and was greeted by Zyg in the African bar. A glass (or two) of his rocket fuel and the long journey was already fading. I couldn’t wait to get fishing but first I was shown to the chalet to unpack. By unpack, I mean drop the small clothes bag in the bedroom and unpack the mountain of angling gear. Obviously the most important thing from my point of view. The chalet, it is worth mentioning, was really lovely and had everything I needed for the entirety of my stay. For now though it was time to fish! With only two hours before darkness I didn’t have a great amount of time. I opted to take a light float set up down to the tench lake to see if I could start off with a few golden tench and orfe. The wind howled as I walked down the waterlogged hill. The light rain fell without any sign of letting up. I had donned the waterproofs and left the umbrella back at the chalet. Thankfully, the fish were obliging. Only small fish came my way, nothing bigger than eight or ten ounces, but in around an hour of fishing, I caught thirty or so blue orfe and six beautiful golden tench. Light waggler fished sweetcorn accounting for all the fish. With the light fading fast, I made my way back for a warm meal and a good nights sleep.

Small but beautiful fish

With the weather still wet and windy, the first full days fishing would take place on the floatfish lake, a lake that really could produce anything. For now though, I was more concerned with finding the most sheltered part of the lake and setting up the brolly securely. The wind was that strong I really could foresee it taking flight if a gust got hold of it. With everything in my peg eventually bolted down, I tackled up the rod, still set up with the waggler I used yesterday. For the first hour I fished a banded pellet shallow, feeding the same bait and the fishing was hectic to say the least. Nothing big at all, six ounces being the average stamp with the odd fish a little fatter. All the fish were golden rudd and very welcomed fish given the conditions. I stopped counting after fifty fish and with just over an hour gone it was time to change tactics. A small lift method set up was my choice. I fed an area close in, halfway down the nearside shelf, with some small pellets, sweetcorn and hemp. It was high time for a cup of tea and a biscuit too. This gave a little time for the bait to settle.

Straight from a garden pond...

The first put in resulted in a beautiful, chunky goldfish. It really was strange seeing these colourful fish rise from the deep water. But one I could certainly get used to. The next put in produced a brown fantail type fish, then a small golden tench. I fed fairly often and before long the fish became a much better stamp. Some of the golden tench were pushing a pound, as were the goldfish. I hooked a two, pound plus ghost commons which gave a tremendous scrap on light float tackle. The lift approach was helping get the hookbait past the bait snatching rudd and once settled I was getting bites relatively quickly. Once I got used to the way the fish were feeding and taking, the fishing was really frantic at times. Dinner time came around all too quickly and I made my way back to the chalet for a bacon and egg sandwich. I wonder if my umbrella would be there when I got back?

Another attractive, small golden tench

With my belly full and flask refilled, it was back down to the swim. Still the rain fell and if anything it was becoming heavier. My umbrella had survived and the fishing carried on with much the same regularity. Goldfish and golden tench were the mainstay of the catch and were keen on the double sweetcorn I was offering. Soft pellet and meat brought a slightly bigger fish but a much longer waiting time and as this was a holiday, I didn’t care about the size. Sweetcorn all the way then and a net full of fish. Over a hundred fish easily. The icing on the cake came in the form of a lovely little Koi carp caught just as the light was starting to dip. It fought hard like the ghost carp earlier and on light tackle was brilliant fun.

My first koi carp

With the weather forecast reporting a break in the weather the next day I booked on to the specimen orfe and tench lake for the day after. That way I had a day to prepare and some time to visit the picturesque north Devon coast. I really wanted to catch a reasonable size orfe, anything over two pound would do me really, given the conditions. But for now, I headed up the hill for some tea. Part two will feature that session and some margin fishing for some bigger koi. One last picture of a colourful floatfish lake resident below.

Vivid colours on another perfect goldfish

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Until Next time tight lines

NorthwestFisherman

 

Some springtime carp fishing (Entry 85)

I had a lie in on Sunday morning. The clocks had gone forward the night before; the start of British summertime. With one hour lost, getting up at nine o’clock seemed like a false luxury. Technically, it was eight o’clock. Stop thinking like that, I told myself as I put the kettle on for a brew. A few slices of toast to accompany and I pondered where to go fishing. It had been a mild few days previously, and it looked as though the sun would be shining once more. Surely, the carp in lakes all around the country would be taking note. The sun acting like a carp magnet; these sun seekers silently slipping into shallow margins or basking at the surface. To the same club lake I ended the session on last week then. Once there I would see what areas were available and then let the conditions, and the carp, dictate where I would fish.

On my arrival half the pegs were taken, and this came as no surprise, but I did have a choice at least. With a gentle breeze blowing in, I decided to follow it and hope the carp had done the same. I sat in the peg for a few minutes and scanned the water. Sure enough, a carp or two were present in the shallower water. Out with the rods. A quick lead around and I had found two spots to fish over. Both in shallow water over a soft bottom. With rigs attached and cast out, I fed a few boilies over each area with the catapult. Within minutes I had a line bite. Then another. It really is exciting when you are sure fish are present. I guess it’s similar to the patches of bubbles that accompany a tench fishing dawn. A further twenty minutes went by before a proper bite materialised. The alarm sounded. Initially the fish swan towards me towards me and it was hard to judge its size. I soon realised though it was a hefty fish, and on fairly light rods, was giving an amazing account of itself. One of the best fights I have had for a long time. As it drew nearer to the net, I could see it was a common with a little bit of ghost in it. A few more powerful lunges soaked up by the rod and the fish was drawn over the waiting landing net.

A beautiful fish to start the session

What a chunky fish it was and in immaculate condition. A brilliant start to the session. After a few photos I made sure the fish was put back safely in the margins and then the best bit; watching her slowly make her way back to her home, none the worse for wear. Rather than get the rod back out quickly, I thought it best to put in a few more freebies and let any fish return and feed undisturbed. I also fed a few more over my second rod, which had been quite quiet since casting out, despite regularly seeing fish in the area. Checking my mainline before casting the rod back out I noticed it was heavily frayed. Something it’s important to get in the habit of doing, especially when fishing near snags or rocks, on rivers in particular. You don’t want to wait for another bite for your line to give because it is damaged. I speak from experience, ignore rough spots and unwanted knots at your peril! Over the next hour it was quiet. The hazy sun was warming though and it was a pleasure just to be sat by the water. In fact, I would have been happy enough not to catch another fish for the rest of the day. This wasn’t to be the case however but for now I watched a mallard and her seven young chicks foraging for food in the tall grass.

Fish number twoJust after the cloud cover increased, I caught my second fish of the session, the slightly smaller mirror pictured above. This time on the rod that had, until now, lay quiet. With a regular trickle of bait being fed it appeared that the swim that had been the quietest, was now gaining more attention from hungry carp. Despite my best efforts to pin the line down safely, I was getting quite a few line bites. I think this was to do with the depth of water and the amount of fish patrolling more than anything else. An occupational hazard. With the rod cast back out, and some more boilies fed, I went back to sitting and generally enjoying the wonderful landscape. I wondered what this place would have looked like a hundred years ago, even longer. It’s in quite a historic location and is something I might try to find out more about in the future. Once more however, my thoughts were interrupted by an angry alarm screaming into life. I found myself playing another powerful carp. This one charged around, going on powerful runs, clutch screaming and angler hanging on for dear life. Similar to the first fish once it neared the bank I could see it was another ghost carp. Much whiter than the first, displaying their trademark metallic scales and patterned head. Eventually, after several more tearing runs, the fish was mine.

Amazing colours on this fishAnother stunning looking fish, and again, pristinely conditioned. Once photographed and returned I fed the area and decided to have a wander. Drink a well needed cup of tea too. I pretty much always take my camera with me when doing so. What I photographed was a sight that is sadly becoming an all to common one. I am not going to moan about the threat our fisheries face on a day to day basis. Rather, that from an anglers point of view point, it hammers home the need to take care of the fish we catch. I know I say this a lot but only because it’s super important. It’s quite literally the future in our hands.

An increasingly common sight

My legs now stretched and my belly full of tea, it was back to the rods and I hoped that in the last hour of light, I might catch one more fish. It really didn’t matter of course at this stage. The evening was another stunning one. It felt like summer was just around the corner and I watched the myriad of animal life that was around me. It was clear from the water waking that a few fish were still present in the swim. Just before the sun sank below the horizon the alarm steadily sprung into life. The fish I lifted into was much more of a plodder than a fighter, a sure sign of a bigger specimen. Without much too difficulty, in comparison to the hard fighting ghost carp, a plump mirror was soon wallowing on the surface. Ready to be netted.

The biggest fish of the session was caught just before duskIt was the largest fish caught today, a high double, and a fitting way to end the session. After the photo, like the others, I made sure the fish was returned safely. I debated casting the rod out once more but in the end decided against it. To be honest, I had been rewarded with some fantastic fish, in picturesque surroundings. Would a bigger fish or simply another fish make it any more memorable? The answer was no and I took that as my cue to leave.

There will not be an update next week as I am away on holiday for a few days. Business will be resumed in two weeks.

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Until Next time tight lines

NorthwestFisherman