Happy Birthday Northwest Fisherman (Entry 100)

A little bit different this week as my blog turns two years old and on my one hundredth post. The first post featured some surface fishing for carp with bread. Two years ago! Time really does fly. I suppose we as anglers notice this more than most. At the time I didn’t really know at all in what direction I was going to take the blog or indeed if I would enjoy it. For me it is all about enjoyment. That and making sure I get my creativity going. A chance to share with others how wonderful our hobby can be. I must say I used to find it a struggle sometimes to get the words flowing but now I really look forward to doing it each week. They may not be particularly poetic but they are my words and ideas. That is something I really get a lot from. Putting things down ‘onto paper’. It’s a great way to focus your thoughts if nothing else.

I would like to thank everyone who has visited the page, shared a link with friends, liked an entry, commented on and generally supported me along the way. It’s very pleasing to receive such kind words from you all. I’ve had some interesting correspondence, from equally interesting and generous people, on all matter of angling subjects. Information freely shared, and in return, received. More recently I have met some other wonderful bloggers and film makers with my involvement with Matt Hayes’ ‘Fishing Hut’. A wealth of skills and knowledge to draw from and a totally unique experience. I’d like to extend my thanks to those involved at Fishing Hut HQ for making me feel very welcome.

Once more, thank you all so much! I’ll now move on quickly to this weeks short session after tench. Scorching heat and bright sunshine certainly didn’t help matters. That and starting the session mid morning and having to be away by early afternoon. I knew it would be feast or famine but expected to find out soon which way it would go. The venue I fished, a shallow and silty one, would lend itself in magnifying the tiny bubbles often sent up when feeding tench are present.

A lovely looking place for a few hours

After feeding with a few small pellets ten minutes went by without any indications. I was using the pole today. Just something different to keep me interested. I’ve been doing a lot of feeder fishing lately and it was refreshing to be doing something different. And fishing the pole is certainly different especially in the gusty wind blowing in from my right. No make that head on. Now behind. Yes, it was one of those swirling winds. Annoying but something we have to take in our stride. As I was thinking this the float tip vanished. The strike met with a heavy weight that took a few minutes to wake up. This wasn’t a tench but a carp. Much larger than anything I was expecting to hook. A very long battle developed and after fifteen minutes had reached a stalemate. The fish was in the margins but refused to lift its head up. Unfortunately the hook pulled and I never got to see the fish. At least no tackle was left trailing with the fish and as I looked back towards the swim there was a bonus. Plenty of small patches of tiny bubbles. Tinca time!

Eye see you!

A procession of tench came my way over the next ninety minutes. The smallest around a pound and the biggest pushing three. Great fun on lightish gear. Most were female fish. Plump and ‘fair’ fighters. The odd fish was the more dogged and erratic male fish. I always think I’ve hooked a better stamp of fish only to be fooled by a smaller male tench rising into view. On the day though they were all appreciated, given the very hot conditions. I was very happy to have caught at all. Less happy with the fact I’d seemed to have turned the colour of a tomato. Remember that suncream next time!

A male tench's huge fins

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




Scripts (Entry 99)

I started to mull things over in my head. The session wasn’t turning out as planned. The quiver tip was a motionless one except for the gentle nodding to the rhythm of the approaching ripples. This wind was already strong and it seemed to be getting stronger. Overhead the heavy clouds gave the scene a bleak quality. Now, the angling literature would tell you that overcast conditions with a good ‘chop’ on the water are great for bream. It appeared then, that these bream hadn’t caught the weather forecast. I reeled in and changed the hookbait. A lovely, oily pellet this time. Maybe I should put on a white flag and call a truce. It looked like a blank might be on the cards but given my recent run of success I knew my luck would have to change sooner or later.

For now I made cups of tea, very much aware of the fact I had done all I could to try and tempt some more of these quality fish. Over the last few weeks the water has changed dramatically. I’ve watched big beds of weed spring up in the margins, almost overnight, and have been frustrated by the heavy silkweed now taking over vast areas of the lake bed. It has become a haven for wildlife. The tiny fry, probably a month or so old, have begun to take up residency amongst these beds of rich, green ‘candy floss.’ They dart out tirelessly, presumably for tiny life forms that have unfortunately become dinner. Every once in a while however, it is the fry who become an item on the menu as a little perch surges from behind a reed stem. When the fry prove a little too crafty to catch it is the pond skaters and water boatmen that need to watch out. Time for a re-cast. Triple red maggot this time, I think.

Dragon fly larvae shell

The carp angler fishing in front of me on the other bank decided it was also time for a re-cast, followed quickly by twenty or so boilies being catapulted out over the area. Dinner time. But not for the carp. Three or four gulls began swooping down, picking off the boilies before they had time to sink. Much to the carp anglers frustration. This feeding activity then attracted the ducks, their young, and a coot or two. We’ve all been in a similar situation. It’s best to admit we are in their environment. Far better to let them leave the area of their own accord than try clapping or scaring them. It still doesn’t mean its not frustrating.

Beautiful summers evening

The red maggots had now been in the swim for forty five minutes and it was time to revert to my starting bait of sweetcorn. It was now well into evening. The wind was beginning to drop. The waters surface which only an hour a go was threatening to wash over the peg was becoming like glass. The clouds that had helped the wind cool the air had also began to disperse, allowing pleasant evening sunlight to warm my back. According to the text books my chance of any bream had dwindled dramatically. But it was ok. Because if you remember these bream hadn’t read the script.

A bolt from the blue

Half an hour later the tip swept around. A moment of utter disbelief and not-at-all-surpised mixed into one. I was into a good bream and I couldn’t help but laugh. Once it was over the rim of the net that is. I’m certainly a person who doesn’t count their chickens until they’re on the bank. A good six pounder lay on the mat. It was held up for a quick picture in the blinding sun, and released. The fish sulked for five minutes before finding its was through the strands of weed separating it from the deep water. The next cast produced another bream. This time a seven pound fish and straight after that another good six pound plus fish. Three fish in the space of forty five minutes.

The biggest of today's session

And that was that. With the light rapidly fading and not being able to fish into night I started to pack away. On the drive home I reflected on the session. It was certainly an eye opening one for me regarding bream. Maybe you should not believe all you read in books. After all they are wild creatures and are not going to live up to their reputation all the time. I can honestly say though that there was never a dull moment. The amount of animals and insect to watch, there is always something to enjoy. A pastime within a pastime you could say.

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


I can’t resist the bream (Entry 98)

No prizes for guessing the species featuring in this weeks blog. I make no apologies for the lack of variety recently. Put simply; I am really enjoying fishing for bream at the moment. As well as a new found love for the species and style of fishing, the water I am targeting is growing on me too. A water I have fished many times in the past but one I have often overlooked. One of crystal clear water, lush green, reed lined margins and a myriad of colourful insects and birds. I remember joining the club controlling it when I was eleven. My dad had been a member for many years previous and had many tales to tell me of his adventures. At the time I had been learning the all important basics on the local canal, but after a year or two, wanted to go further afield. It was like stepping into a different world. The inviting, but cold, stone lined banking was gone. The water made grey by towering bridges replaced by ones where if you were still enough, actual fish could be spotted. For a kid that grew up in the city it was pure escapism. I used to love fishing the waggler at the venue in question. Usually shallow and spraying maggots. Rudd after rudd would line up to be caught, of course the bigger specimens were far too wily for that. Thankfully the big bream that live here are not as shy once grazing over a bed of bait. They still need to be caught though.

Resting dragonfly

As I have done in previous weeks, I arrived at the water and looked for signs of fish; bubbling, rolling and such. In all honesty there was a lot of fish activity all over but it seemed a little more confined where I chose to fish. A quick lead around revealed a clear and flat area around 30 metres out and with that the line was clipped up. To avoid any mishaps, unlike last week, I stuck a little electrical tape over the line clip. There was now no way any stray line could become tangled behind and spoil my cast. Learning from my mistakes, you see. Lead replaced with a feeder, twenty casts were made to the spot and a mixture of sweet fishmeal groundbait, pellets and corn was laid down. I tied up two hooklengths, a short and long version, giving the swim time to settle in the process. Fake corn fished on a hair would be my hookbait, popped up ever so slightly so the bait would sit above the silkweed present in the swim. Then it was time for a cup of tea before casting out. In the distance, menacing dark blue clouds gathered and thunder rumbled.

The business endAlso present in this venue are some very large tench and when taking a few moments to take in the surroundings with a drink, these fish always creep into my mind. I suppose I secretly hope that one time the tip might fly around and instead of the breams infamous plod, I might find myself hanging on as raw, green power does its best to escape. As I baited the hair for the first time I savoured the moment. I love the first cast of a session. Even if I have cast into that same water many times before, there’s something about it I can’t quite put my finger on. Maybe it encapsulates what fishing is about. The unknown. Even if you have an idea what species are present, you are never sure how big they will be on the day, how long you will have to wait for them and if they are going to bite at all. Then again maybe its the focus of it. Yes, I think thats what I like. Anything else on my mind is guaranteed to quickly filter away. A rig is cast, a short period of concentration observed, then re-bait or re-feed and repeat the process. Times ten or fifty. It’s perfect. There’s no time for other matters and the only time this is interrupted is when the fish decide to introduce themselves.

A two-toned 7lb bream

Which on todays session turned out to be quite quickly, in fact it was on only my second cast. I didn’t know if this was a good or a bad thing. Surely the fish wouldn’t be feeding so confidently to not notice a rather substantial part of their shoal disappearing. With the fish returned, I cast out and it seemed that they had, indeed, noticed. For the next hour I had no bites or liners. In the distance the thunder still rumbled but seemed less threatening now, which was a relief. Out of the blue the tip pulled around as another bream found the bait irresistible. Disaster came a few seconds later when the hook pulled. A lost fish in the ‘feeding zone’ is certainly a terrible thing to happen. Especially with bream. And so the fishing came to reflect this idea as another hour slipped by without any more success. I took the opportunity to top up the feed and quickly deposited another fifteen feeders full of bait. Within ten minutes I began to receive line bites. Another ten minutes later I was into a bream, a smaller stamp than the first at around five pound. The next cast produced another seven pound fish. All of them having a liking for the balanced fake corn hookbait.

After that flurry of action it was time for a well deserved tea. I was in the process of pouring said tea when the tip dropped back once again. On auto-pilot the flask was put down and the rod picked up. Second nature? It seemed that way. The fish on the other end however was much more reluctant to do as the others had and it kited strongly to my left. For a few seconds I wondered if the fish was a bream at all. A head shake and a lunge confirmed it. Definitely a bream. I had the feeling that it might be a bigger fish so I took my time, particularly when guiding the fish over the huge weed bed in front of me. Out in the depths a brassy bronze bream turned on its side, making its guidance a lot easier, edging ever closer to the waiting net that I had stretched out as far as I could.

My new PB at 8lb 12oz

It was certainly a big bream and set a new personal best for me. What a classic looking bream it was too. A looker, if you can say that about bream, a well as large. It was a real privilege to hold and release a fish like this. I wonder how old it was? Watching it swim back down through the depths in such clear water was fantastic. That tea I poured sure tasted sweet, if a little cold now, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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


A session of two halves (Entry 97)

With their distinctive plop the boilies broke the surface sending the few carp that were present ghosting back down the shelf. I hope I hadn’t scared them away. I had faith that their stomachs would get the better of their instinct. Moments passed. Ones that felt much longer than they actually were. My eyes strained through the murky water, willing a dark shape to fade back into view. A few more seconds slipped by before a carp could resist the tasty morsels no longer. Perfect I thought and slowly crept away from the edge and back to the car, leaving the carp to gain confidence. I went about setting up my Avon rod. A short hooklength was made up. Boilies baited on the hair. I was soon back at the swim creeping into position. The tuft of grass I used for cover was heavily out of proportion for the job but it was better than nothing. A few more boilies thrown in had a similar effect to the first time only now, when the carp left, I was able to lower my free-lined hookbait into the shallow water. It was then a case of waiting for the carp to return. I was sure they would. They had been happily feeding in the interim. Sure enough, they made their way back up the shelf, looking a little more nervous than last time it has to be said. Maybe I’d ruined the opportunity. No sooner were these thoughts filtering through my head, than a fish bolted out into the lake. In one, blurred motion a carp had up ended, waved its tail and made the mistake of taking my bait.

A very appreciated mirror carpMy prize; a stunning old mirror carp. Long, lean and very powerful. I took a quick picture and made sure the fish was well rested before release. And although on the actual day this is where the story ends, for this week’s blog it’s not where the story began.

I got up early. Any tasks for the day were to be dealt with in super quick time. After all, the quicker I did them, the sooner I would be out on the bank. Let me say that conditions looked perfect.  A little cooler than last week, overcast mostly with a few brighter spells mixed in. The wind, which was light at the moment was predicted to get stronger as the day wore on. That settled it. There was only one place I would be heading. Back to the water I finished up on last week in the hope that some more of its lovely, slab sided bream would come my way. I was super excited now. A good meal eaten and car loaded, I was soon hurtling down the motorway, with visions of deep bronze flanks mooching around in the gloom of the deep, clear water. As any fisherman will know it’s a dangerous game to let you mind wander like this for these are the moments when you let your guard down. Hopes and expectations for the day rise up. But all too often the reality rarely matches. When it does, however, that is when memories are made. Only when they match up? Hmm. On arrival I chose a peg and found a lovely weed free area which I would bait up with a mixture of groundbait, pellets and sweetcorn. No casters this week as I had no time to collect them from the shop. Once the fifteenth feeder load of the sweet fishmeal concoction had been deposited, it was time to tie up two hooklengths and then settle back for the wait. I was joined for a few minutes by a turquoise and black damselfly.

A friendly damselflyA stunning looking creature but once more my mind drifted to what might be about to happen out in the lake. Had any bream picked up on the scent? Were they nervously starting to feed on the bait at the very edges of the area? Making their way ever closer to my hookbait. Time would tell. For now only patience was needed. That and casting the feeder full of attractive goodies every ten or fifteen minutes. Four casts went by. Roughly an hour then, I deduced. No line bites as yet and certainly no proper bites. A change of hookbait to a banded pellet and the feeder filled for a fifth time. Rig cast and the rod back on the rest. From nowhere the rod tip dropped back, and in the time it took me to unfold my arms, had pulled into one hell of a curve. Fish on! A gentle fight ensued culminating in a net full of bronze ‘beauty’. Excellent.

A great bream to start the session with

Well over six pound and a cracking fish to start the session with. As I returned the fish I noticed that the area I had fed was beginning to fizz. Not tiny, tench-like bubbles. Slightly larger. Obviously a few bream had found the bait and were eagerly feeding. I couldn’t wait to get the rig cast back out there. There was definitely a few fish on the cards here! Now here’s where I learnt a valuable lesson about expectation and reality. On that very next cast a horrible sound of snapping line sent my hopes of a bumper session nose-diving dramatically. Looking down in disbelief I could see that the line had unfortunately caught itself in the line clip. I didn’t check before casting of course. Curse you excitement! To make matters worse I then remembered I hadn’t counted how many turns of the reel handle it was to the baited area. Luckily the fish were feeding well so I had a visual clue. Then the nail in the coffin. On going to my bag for another swimfeeder it appeared, as you would now expect, that I had left them on the garden table. Well done me. Expectation. What happens in reality. Rarely meeting. A memory made but not the kind I’d hoped for.

Nothing complicated here

With no way of getting any amount of bait out in the swim I decided, as frustrating as it felt, that it was best to leave. It’s a horrible feeling leaving feeding fish. I’d like to think I’ll learn from this. In what seemed like the blink of an eye I was in the car and homeward bound. After a few miles, I decided to call into another club fishery on the way. A place that if I am honest I am not hugely fond of but I wasn’t ready for home yet. I honestly don’t know what made me choose this venue but no sooner had I arrived I noticed a few carp feeding in the shallow margins. It would be rude not to introduce a little bait and see how they reacted. Well, you know the story from here.

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