Anglers Paradise; a lesson (Entry 208)

I was ready fifteen minutes before the alarm was due to go off. Everything present and correct. Mattress to swim in less than fifteen minutes. Bliss. The sun had not yet rose but the water, of the specimen orfe and tench lake, was already alive. Small fish, presumably orfe, topped regularly, whilst from the bottom, small bubbles were sent up by unseen culprits. You needn’t be Einstein to work out just what was responsible for them. I found an area of the lake with a pronounced plateau to which I could fish a heavy waggler down the side of. I was quite happy that with regular feeding, little and often, I would be able to have the best of both worlds. Tench on the bottom to start with, then later, big orfe caught on the drop. I began to feed pellets with the catapult whilst I drank the first tea of the day and devoured a Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer.

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My first cast, some thirty minutes or so later, produced the first fish of the day. A classic sail away bite, slow and pronounced, and my strike met with weight. A pale tench came to the net, all creams, pinks and pale blues. It was certainly a surprising catch even in this place of crazy coloured fish. Once returned I began to take a golden tench after golden tench, all around the pound mark, but as much fun as this was there was no sign of anything bigger moving into the swim just yet. The sun had long since risen and at a guess, because I’d let my phone at the villa, I felt it was around 9:00am. With the rising warmth now was the time to shallow up the rig ever so slightly, split the shot into much smaller ones, and start looking for fish higher in the water.

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The bait fell much slower now, and came to rest at dead depth, instead of the many inches over. I’d like to say that within minutes the plan worked, but in all honesty, it was more like an hour. Patience rewarded me with a fine orfe, a golden one, at well over three pounds. It fought like a wet sock until under the rod tip where it woke up and darted erratically. Once in the net the fish took on the persona of a grass carp and went absolutely ballistic. Thankfully it calmed down just long enough for me to get a picture or tow, before I released it, well rested and in fine fettle.

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Throughout the day, interspersed between literal handfuls of gold, I caught seven big orfe. The best a lovely blue orfe of over four pound. All the fish were in great condition it has to be said. As the sun began to slowly sink behind the hills I made contact with a much bigger fish. At first I though it was a tench, but the non-urgent nature of the battle, told me I was connected to an orfe. A very big orfe. Tense seconds dragged. As the fish neared the net I could see it dwarfed the biggest fish of the day. Adrenalin surged. Hands trembled. Then the rod sprang straight.

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Lets step back a little. You see, on the cast I made, the cast that would see the bait taken by the biggest orfe I’d ever hooked, I had an inkling there was something not quite right with the hooklength. A wind knot. A nick in the nylon. Something like that. The cast though was perfect and came to settle in a beautiful part of the swim. I’ll change the hooklength when I reel this back in, I thought to myself. Three minutes later I came to regret that lazy decision. Lesson learnt. If in doubt. Reel in. Change the hooklength. Change the whole rig if you have to. Just don’t do what I did. Don’t be an idiot.

I didn’t let this mishap spoil the day though. Finishing off with the smallest, but most colourful fish of the day. A deep, deep colour flanked this tench. Proof if proof is needed, that a fish doesn’t have to be the biggest, to be the best. Or is this something an angler tells themself to ease any woes brought on by fishing like a golfer?

Thanks for reading,

NorthwestFisherman

Anglers Paradise; a beginning (Entry 207)

Six days of fishing. Not exactly wall to wall angling, but pretty close. The long drive, marred by a colossal tailback on the M5, seemed now so distant as I sat and watched the finely dotted float tip. I had only an hour of daylight left before it would be too dark to see, but I knew the before then, I would have captured my first colourful fish. Indeed, it took around ten minutes for the orange tip to vanish, replaced by a tench of similar tone, a golden tench of around two pound. It fought spiritedly, it looked splendid, and welcomed me to Anglers Paradise in style.

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After an evening of eating and drinking, and a later than intended nightcap (or three), I thought it best to make a leisurely start to the next day. A stroll to the local shop first to pick up some breakfast items, then at a sedate pace, I prepared for a day on the Float Lake. The Devonshire weather was certainly shining. A clear blue sky, deep and saturated, stretching as far as I could see, lifted my soul. The sun warmed my back as I made up two rigs ready for the day ahead. My cup of tea didn’t touch the sides. Neither did my bacon and egg muffin. I was going to enjoy this.

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With such warm conditions the resident koi were easy to spot. Plenty cruised in the upper layers. Their pearly colours dulled only by a few inches of water between back and surface. Tail fins occasionally created vortexes. Floating morsels were suck down with a sharp slurp. A fine float rig was set a foot deep and baited with slow sinking bread. Within minutes the koi began to fall. In the first two hours I caught twenty. From a pound to around five, they obliged, taking the bread without any hesitancy, and fighting like fish twice their size once hooked.

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By mid afternoon the fishing became a little tricky, but a steady rain of 4mm pellets catapulted regularly brought a succession of golden tench to the net, as they took the bait in the upper layers of a five feet deep swim. That’s if they beat the hordes of tiny rudd to the bait. I had over forty of these beautiful, hard fighting fish, each one unique, some with red fins, some with white. Some with black spots whilst others had none. They all shared a black button eye and the same dogged attitude of their green cousins. Along with a smattering of blue and golden orfe, some sizeable golden rudd to just under a pound and a few rogue F1 type hybrids, I caught on virtually every put in over the next three hours, amassing more than a hundred fish and savouring every second.

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By late afternoon I’d had my fill, my arm ached, and my second flask had long since run out. Time to wander back to the villa for some food and a hoppy beverage. As I packed away, at my feet, the koi began to forage in the margins of the lake. For a moment I was almost tempted to have an extra hour fishing for them. But I resisted. I had plenty of angling ahead of me. Tomorrow, I had a day on the Specimen Orfe & Tench Lake booked, and preparing for that now would ultimately serve me better than a few more koi on the bank. Or so I hoped. In less than 12 hours I would find out.

Thanks for reading and until next time,

NorthwestFisherman

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